Facebook groups have been filled with questions of “is my business an essential business?” There is much debate, rightfully so because it isn’t always cut and dry. With the Feds basically saying that we all need to shut down until April 30th on top of the CARE Act going into effect on April 1st, there is a lot of changes happening to the landscape right now.
The Ethical Dillema
In order for us to pass this crisis and slow the curve, it is important that people stay home and away from one another. Yet, some business owners can’t afford to shut down and are looking at every possible angle to try to stay open. It is understandable because it is the business that they have built up that is all of their livelihood. People have begun to look for other ways that they can generate revenue if they have to close and overall panic has really set in.
We Are All Grieving Right Now.
It is true that we are experiencing all the grieving stages at once right now. Many are in denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and some have moved to acceptance. No matter where you are in the stages, or all at once, know that you are not alone and you are entitled to feel this way.
The Steps You Need To Make To Find Out If You Are Essential:
- Governors website
- Call city hall
- Contact the Chamber of Commerce
- Listen to your team
The first place I would go is to google and type in “your state” and “nonessential workers” Chances are your local news station will have already published a list, that typically comes from your governor’s website.
I encourage you to go straight to that source.
Read it all.
If you are still unclear, go ahead and call, or better yet, email city hall. Email the governor’s office or ask you can speak to so you can get clarity.
Another avenue I have had some clients be successful is calling up the Chamber of Commerce. They often have a direct line to the governor and can sometimes get you an answer.
Last, I would ask your team of advisors. This would be your Human Resources advisor, your CPA, and your Lawyer.
Gathering info from all these areas can really help you determine how to interpret the orders in place.
What I Have Seen In Various States:
It is interesting in the pet industry because businesses like boarding have typically been essential to help those first responders or people out of the country. They say it is the welfare of the pet. I have also seen some pet sitters on that list but it does vary from state to state.
Although what I haven’t seen is daycare, dog walkers, and dog trainers.
I have seen a lot of businesses try to “yeah but…” the scenario but I really encourage you to consider these things:
- Will you really have enough volume of a business to make a profit that is going to help you?
- Will staying open be something that you can make sure you will not infect anyone or contract any infections?
- Are you doing this out of ego, denial, or anger?
This is a Tough Situation
I get it. I will be the first person in line to tell you to fight for your business but sometimes you just need to realize that there isn’t anything you can do about keeping the proverbial doors open. I don’t envy any of you but I can tell you that the businesses that have admitted that this is bigger than their “fight” have moved to the acceptance stage and are already taking the time to care for themselves, heal, and plan their world domination for the comeback.
The Come Back Is Better than the Set Back
My boy Mike on Jersey shore said it best, “Make the comeback better than the set back!” He probably wasn’t the first to say this – but it is the most recent reference that comes to my mind.
And yes, I just quoted Jersey Shore. *wink*
Honestly Jumpers, as we move towards the acceptance stage where we just focus what we can actually control there will be an enormous amount of peace that comes from that. If you do have to shut down, take a few days and then get up and get to work with me. I am here… lighting it up on fire. I am not waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. I am making it right now, right here, with you. You know how I am doing that? By telling you exactly what you need to be saying and doing with your community NOW and helping you plan your come back.
Oh, I have big plans for you and I am not going to let you take this sitting down.
That’s not who I am and that is not who you are.
We have a challenge starting in the Mastermind or 14 days. Awesome things to focus on. In addition to that, we also have 15 actual marketing efforts that you can be doing that don’t cost you anything.
This is not the end. This isn’t over. There is so much that is still needed from you to your business even if you have to close those doors.
How are you really doing right now?
I mean really?
I can’t imagine you are having the best time of your life right now, or are you? See, I have been talking to countless business owners around the world the past three weeks and I’ve realized a few things. A few things that if you allow me a few minutes of your time, I will go into great detail telling you about it.
I also want to be clear.
I don’t care if Google doesn’t understand the keywords in this post. This is just from me to you and I am not trying to rank for anything, including your praise.
I am here talking to YOU, yes you with no holds barred.
So back to you…
How Are You, Really?
Are you fighting sobriety? Depression? Loneliness? Anger? Worry? The fear of passing a child back and forth in this climate? This pandemic is going to get all emotions heightened and stress at an all time high. It is easy to become swallowed up by it and just let it knock you down and leave you there.
I mean, why not? Everyone else is taking a time out, right?
Tomorrow, you will do it. Right?
I can’t stress how important it is, right now, for you to be more on your A-game than ever before. This is an opportunity and only the strong will get to take advantage and be the ones surviving long term.
In order to rev up for this type of fight there are many things that we need to get control over first. These “things” add up and are some of what I consider to be the deciding factors in so many successful entrepreneurs.
Get a Routine
I won’t tell you what routine, what time, or how long, but you need a routine.
Your body needs to find a rhythm.
It will help your body clock know when it is time to sleep, work, eat, play, etc.
A routine will give you purpose and direction. You are doing things with the intention of not just being reactive to the day or even life.
Start small with a routine and work your way up and adding on. When we are going through such a change in our regular business life, it is important to find a routine. Something that you can rely on each day even when it seems like everything is going to the wayside. A routine can even be built off one you might have already had and you can keep it after we get through all of this. It also might change frequently until you get it right.
Start To Clean and Organize
Technically, it is still March and I am sure there is some spring cleaning to be had! Doing this will make you feel lighter and less cluttered. You also will feel like you accomplished something. Here are some ideas:
- Take a look at your clothes. Anything you haven’t worn in the past 12 months, donate!
- Kids toys just seem to build up or have broken parts laying around. Go through all their toy boxes separating all the things they have too many of or just don’t play with. I am sure there is a non profit that would love these used toys.
- How does your basement, garage, and/or attic look? These are super areas to just put on some music, or your fav podcast and just go to town. Get all messy and sweaty going through it all and organizing and tossing what you don’t need. Heck, the way the world is currently going, you might even take out your Christmas lights and put them up too?
- What does your pantry look like? How much stuff has been sitting there and expired? Or maybe you bought too much of something or didn’t like it? Consider tossing or donating and thinning through your cabinets. No need to keep that huge bowl if you haven’t actually used it for three years. Am I right?
- How about scanning in docs that you might still have in file cabinets or even old pictures? Hold onto the originals, but ever think about creating digital copies of all the old family pictures? You can even share them with other family members!
- Although, of course, you just also can say “Bless This Mess” and leave it too….
Get Wicked Smart!
As my Bostonian roots would say. 🙂 Do you realize that many of us have loads of apps, software, and gadgets, but we don’t really know how to use them to their full potential? What if you could learn one of them inside and out?
Well, now is your chance!
Have at it!
I just did that with Streamyard. The software I was using I wasn’t too happy with and now when I go live on the Jump Consulting Facebook page I am going to be using Streamyard! I watched a bunch of Youtube videos to familiarize myself with it and boom – that is my new go to!
What have you been wanting to learn? We have a resource list that lists out places that are giving away free classes.
If you want to learn about the how to get your business and yourself through this crisis we have a Pet Industry COVID-19 Support group that has helped over 100 pet sitting and dog walking companies already. Join now and get access to all the recordings!
Give Yourself Permission
There are so many things that I know your guilt from the endless to-do list has prevented you from doing. Well guess what? That to-do list is on hold right now! Seriously. Here are some ideas:
- Go on a walk with your OWN dog and listen to your fav podcast, music, book on audio, or maybe just the birds!
- Netflix and chill… guilt free.
- Mess up a recipe. I say mess up because it is ok if you don’t have all the ingredients or it isn’t exactly like what the picture looks like 🙂
- Journal with an actual pen and paper. There is something that happens in our brain when we do pen to paper and are not typing. There are no rules just pretend we are in Ms. Manoogian’s 5th-grade class together. Write for 10 minutes straight. Anything that comes to mind. Even if it is “I don’t know what to write.” Once your brain realizes it is allowed to be free, you might be surprised with what comes out!
There are so many things we can do if we just take the constraints of time off our life and just be.
I have decided to use this time to make time for me. Sometimes the world works in strange ways. This time I feel it is telling us to SLOOOOW down. Spend more time with your families, read a book, take a walk, call and catch up with the friends and family you have not spoke with. Life is short and we all need to remember to keep our loved ones close as we will never get this time back
– Maureen Dunn McCarthy, Love and Kisses Pet Sitting
Maureen, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Some of you might be at this stage already, and some might still be hustling. Wherever you are in your journey right now, it is okay. I feel like Maureen has accepted what it is in her area and is making the conscious choice to control what she can.
I applaud that.
Ask For What You Need
This is also a time where somewhere we can start asking for what we need. We can take this time to be still and think about what is missing from our business or life and take advantage. This time can be looked as an opportunity. An opportunity to humble ourselves and ask for help, join a Mom’s group, work on our nutrition, join a business group, start working out. What is it that you need. Feel free to ask me and I will try to connect you in the right direction.
For some this might be an opportunity to take time off. For others, it might be an opportunity to get ahead or finally accomplish some goals that you have been working hard to achieve. The Mastermind is super for this as we are soon to start a 14 Day Challenge where there is something new (and little) to focus on each day.
People are Watching You
What are you going to do in this time? In this unprecedented time that we will never get back? Jessika Phillips of NOW Marketing Group says there are going to be takers, fakers, and makers. There are going to be people who just try to take advantage of situations in a ruthless way, there will be people standing up as “experts” with no track record or history of results, and then there will be the makers taking this crappy situation and making rainbows out of it. They will help make something in their community, the hearts and minds of those around them.
You have an option right now. You don’t have to pick one. You can be all of them if you want. But be conscious of it Jumpers… don’t let this time pass you by and allow things like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and all the other hyped-up news media kill your soul.
Take an active part in this time that you will never get back. Decide how you want to be as a leader, because guess what? We are all leaders. Over ourselves, our relationships, our business, and our community. How we want to lead is all up to us.
Things to Consider before Temporarily Closing Your Business
As the outbreak of COVID-19 spreads worldwide, business owners are forced to make tough decisions. Considerations must be made not only for yourself but for your colleagues, employees, family, friends, and – of course – your pets. I understand that many of you reading this may be considering closing your business temporarily – perhaps some of you already have.
This is a NO JUDGEMENT zone. I’m here for you either way. We must do what we have to to survive in this current climate.
Before you make any decisions though, I urge you to consider your resources and take your time to consider fact and fate – not fear!
I’m not encouraging you to close your business. I understand that every area is different and you may even decide to keep your doors open despite everything. Again, NO judgment.
Let’s jump right in and talk about what’s important right now:
Where You Live
Life in the middle of Manhattan is much different than life in rural Nebraska right now. While some states are mandating that people stay in their homes and all nonessential businesses must close, other less-populated areas may not have the same restrictions as of yet.
Listen to your local government and consider what is best for you, your business, and your employees. If there IS a shelter order and you’re still sending pet sitters and dog walkers out for business, you need to understand the consequences and potential liabilities you may face.
When considering whether or not to close your business temporarily, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Not only do you have to think about you and your own family, but you must do the same for your staff. Here are three main options you have right now:
- Offer a furlough – A furlough, or leave of absence, can be a great option for employees during this time. It allows them to stay on your books so they’re still eligible for PTO… however, they’re not actually fired and you’ll still have to pay for their benefits as well. They may be able to claim unemployment as long as they have had zero earnings in the prior week and were not offered any hours.
- Consider layoffs– While no business owner wants to layoff their employees, these are extremely difficult times. The silver lining with layoffs is that your employees will be eligible for unemployment. Of course, be mindful of your staff if you decide to go down this path. Consider yourself a resource for employees if they still need anything; don’t leave anyone in the dust.
- Do nothing – By this, I mean that some companies are still very cash positive. In this case, you may want to consider giving your employees loans – and being very clear about that – or advances for salaries.
Whether your business remains open or closed, it’s crucial to continue engaging with your clients, colleagues, etc. The public wants to know what’s going on with you and the business. How are you handling everything amidst COVID-19?
Stand up and keep talking to both your internal and external communities. Be honest with everyone about the situation; if you don’t know the answer to something, admit it!
One of the BIGGEST THINGS I will tell you is this: If you do decide to close your business temporarily, then say so. Do not just say you’re “closing the business.” Tell your staff and clients that you are going to reevaluate the situation at a later date and get back to them. Be in constant contact and keep lines of communication open.
Engage, engage, engage during this time!! Your clients not only want to keep seeing those cute pups and kittens, but they want to know what’s going on behind the scenes too.
There is nothing to be ashamed of if you decide to close temporarily. NO JUDGEMENT HERE! Everyone’s situation is different but we’re all in this together.
Send updates via email and across all social media platforms. Remember, this WILL PASS and people are going to need your services again. That’s why it’s so important to support each other right now.
I know that your business is your lifeblood. It’s your blood, sweat, tears. Trust me, I get it. And my heart goes out to all of you struggling with the hard decisions right now.
If you need to, use this time to press the reset button. Start working on your business SOPs and processes for your employees so that when the tide begins to turn for the better, you’ll be right on track to start hiring again.
Take this time to sharpen the proverbial sword; listen to experts, go out for a walk and listen to an audiobook, create great habits for yourself and get into a routine that drives you each and every day. Keep creating goals to work towards – this is NOT the end!
I’ll also be hosting a two-week pop-up group called Pet Industry COVID-19 Survival Group which will run from Monday, March 23rd to April 6th in an effort to help educate you on the most pressing topics of the current climate.
Join in and have NINE experts at your fingertips to help you make the BEST decisions in your business during this crisis. We’ll talk about finances, loans, unemployment, marketing, social, and more. By joining my pop-up group, you can:
- Talk to lawyers and attorneys on the latest legislation in Congress.
- Consult industry-leading from HR experts on sick time policy and paid leave.
- Learn from social media and website marketers who are at the top of their game and ready to help YOU get to the top of yours.
I’m celebrating with you. I’m crying with you. I’m doing everything I know how to provide you with the most up-to-date information. If you need me, I’m here. Thanks so much for sticking with me!
Running a pet business – or any business for that matter – can be a scary venture at the best of times… but in the face of a global pandemic, everything is much more overwhelming. Studies have shown that 96% of small businesses in the United States have been impacted by COVID-19, and 67% of small business owners are struggling with knowing how to apply for emergency funding.
I get it.
With so many unknown variables, maintaining your drive and focus may be more difficult.
But now is NOT the time to give up!
You are not alone in this and, together, we WILL get through this tough time.
In fact, there are plenty of government resources and incredible offers available for small business owners – and I’ve saved you the trouble of searching the internet so you can JUMP right in!
I want you to succeed. YOU are going to make it through this. Your BUSINESS is going to make it through this.
I am sharing the below resources with you to INSPIRE action. So, let’s jump right to it:
Financial Resources for those in the United States…
While many states are requiring nonessential workers to stay home, animal-care providers are typically considered essential businesses. Animals can’t care for themselves and it’s SO important that we have the resources we need to do what we do best – love and care for our furry friends!
Small business owners are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). These loans are meant to cover accounts payable, debts, payroll and other bills COVID-19 has affected your ability to pay.
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses in the following states with working capital loans of up to $2 million: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Click here to apply.
The SBA also offers a variety of grants for research, nonprofits, educational institutions, and more as well as other types of resources specifically for COVID-19.
Grants are excellent during this time because they don’t need to be repaid, and they won’t hurt your business credit score! Other places to search for grants include:
- Grant Watch
- The Amber Grant
- Walmart Foundation Grants
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
- Wells Fargo Community Giving Grants
- The State Business Incentives Database
- Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
- National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE)
- Petco Grant Opportunities for Animal Organizations
Another great opportunity is Fundera’s Annual Entrepreneurial Grant, The Zach Grant, which helps budding entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Simply record a 3-minute video explaining the reason you started your own business. Have fun with it and earn up to $2500!
Additionally, Business For All in partnership with Hello Alice & Verizon is offering grants up to $50,000 including a $10,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant.
You can check out more small business grant offerings here, including those specifically for women-owned operations.
Did you know…? The federal tax return filing deadline has been pushed from April 15 to July 15, 2020. You can check your local state tax agency for any other updates right here.
Remember, every state has its own unique programs and funding. From the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund to the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief, you can find more information on your state governor’s website.
For more on state disability, paid family leave and unemployment, click here.
If you’re local to AZ, The Arizona Commerce Authority is a great resource for small business owners. Check back throughout the year for new competitions and grant options!
The Department of Labor has also expanded unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak. If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to coronavirus, you can file for unemployment insurance. Search for specific filing requirements within your state at careeronestop.org.
Banks and credit card companies are also offering relief for their customers during this time. Be sure to check-in to see if there is anything your bank can do to offset financial burdens during this time.
The Jewish Free Loan Association is offering interest-free and fee-free loans that can be turned around in a matter of days to those impacted by COVID-19. You do not need to be Jewish to apply.
For those businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue, Amazon is offering a Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund.
Facebook’s Small Business Grant Program is also offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.
Verizon and LISC Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund is offering grants up to $10,000 with a focus on entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses, and other businesses operating in under-served communities.
GoFundMe, Yelp, & Quickbooks’ Small Business Relief Initiative is a program offering up to $1.5 million in donation matching to help provide small business owners with funding, grants, and resources.
Are you a kennel owner, vet practice, shelter, or pet supply store? If you have a brick-and-mortar business that will remain open during this time, be sure to check out OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
Employment Resources for those in the United States…
If someone you know has recently been laid off or has recently become unemployed, big companies like Amazon, CVS, and Walmart are hiring.
The following companies are hiring right now:
- Amazon – Hiring 100,000
- Safeway – Hiring 2,000
- EQRx (Boston)
- Stop and Shop
- Papa Johns
- Polk Mechanical
- Honeybaked Ham
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Blizzard Entertainment
- M&T Bank
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Naviga Recruiting
- Domino’s – Hiring 10,000 workers
- Vonage (San Francisco, CA, Atlanta GA, Holmdel, NJ, London UK, Wroclaw Poland, Barcelona, and Tel Aviv)
- Fannie Mae
- Dollar Tree & Family Dollar – Hiring 25,000
- Walmart – Hiring 150,000 employees
Career changes and job searching aren’t easy, especially in the midst of a global crisis. Luckily, these companies are opening their doors to new faces and a lot of them!
Other Helpful Continued Learning Resources…
If you’re like many others around the world today, you may be stuck inside to practice social distancing. Yes, it’s hard to disrupt our normal routines – but there ARE silver linings!
In fact, now is an excellent time to continue learning, growing, and reach out to others (virtually, of course!), so we can jump back into our businesses with even more knowledge than before!
In fact, I’ll be hosting a two-week pop-up group called Pet Industry COVID-19 Survival Group which will run from Monday, March 23rd to April 6th in an effort to help educate you on the most pressing topics of the current climate.
Join in and have NINE experts at your fingertips to help you make the BEST decisions in your business during this crisis. We’ll talk about finances, loans, unemployment, marketing, social, and more. By joining my pop-up group, you can:
- Talk to lawyers and attorneys on the latest legislation in Congress.
- Consult industry-leading from HR experts on sick time policy and paid leave.
- Learn from social media and website marketers who are at the top of their game and ready to help YOU get to the top of yours.
Additionally, there are TONS of free learning resources to take advantage of – encourage your employees, colleagues, friends, and family to do the same. We’re all in this together.
From Harvard to Princeton, here are 450 Ivy League courses you can take for FREE!
EdX is another great spot for free online learning – check out this free course on The Science of Happiness. After all, we could use a little cheer during this time!
DigitalMarketer is offering its Lab Membership for FREE for all businesses and marketers impacted by COVID-19.
And now that we’re all spending more time online, it may be useful to work on your graphic design skills to continue catching the attention of your customers! Check out Graphic Design Essentials by HubSpot Academy and Adobe Illustrator for Absolute Beginners by EduOnix.
A few more helpful learning programs/resources to check out are as follows:
Microsoft is offering Microsoft Teams Freemium so you and your team can stay connected through unlimited chat, private/group video calls, up to 10 GB of file storage, and real-time collaboration with Microsoft Office programs.
Zoom has altered their (free) basic plan so that you can host up to 100 participants in one meeting as well as hold unlimited 1-on-1 meetings.
Kabbage recently launched an online hub to assist U.S. small businesses boost sales as well as a system where businesses can sell gift cards to clients to use at a later date.e
Business Warrior, a software platform that delivers priorities & recommendations to business owners to overcome roadblocks, is offering a free one-year subscriptions.
It’s also important to stay active, both physically and mentally during this difficult times. Here are a few resources that can help:
Headspace, a guided meditation app, has released a variety of guided meditations and exercises for free to all business and their employees.
ClassPass is offering free access to 2,000 on-demand workouts as well as giving the option to their studio partners to offer live-streamed classes on the platform.
Need something else that isn’t apart of this list? Check out findhelp.org.
Of course, this is in no way an exhaustive list. There are SO many resources for you out there and I hope you’ll take this time to jump in and expand your knowledge base.
Pet Business Owners, Remember This…
As we move forward in this “new normal”, remember this: do NOT press pause on your business goals!
Now is NOT the time to halt the business efforts that are actually making you money.
The future is coming at us fast, and these current times will end.
The most important thing is to be responsive instead of reactive.
Continue to make GREAT decisions that will GROW your pet business and set you up for success. And remember to think of your colleagues, employees, and clients – reach out to them, share these resources, and stick together.
You’ve Got This and I’m Right Here With You.
This is a uniquely challenging time and there is a lot changing minute by minute it seems. While it’s important to stay vigilant, don’t give in to the panic of the coronapocalypse. Stay engaged, be in touch with your business partners, employees, clients, friends, family, and, of course, your pets!
And, of course, this is a great opportunity for you to become a thought leader in your community. We want to provide useful, factual information to demonstrate to our clients that we’re prepared and have a plan for our business during this difficult time.
We want to ensure that we stay calm, know our policies/procedures, and demonstrate leadership to help guide our clients and employees.
We are in a crisis.
Now more than ever you need to have a strong mind, arm yourself with knowledge and not go down without a fight.
People are depending on you. Your family. Your staff. Your community.
Whether you want to realize it or not YOU, the business owner, ARE a leader. People are watching you. They are waiting to see what you are going to do. Whatever you do, this is a no judgment zone and we all realize that everyone is in a different situation with different levels of loss they are experiencing.
We Are Marketing At A Funeral
I did an emergency session with one of my mentors Mark Schaefer this week. He said, Bella, we aren’t relevant anymore. Businesses in general aren’t relevant anymore and it is like we are marketing at a funeral. We must realize that we can’t just sell the way we used to. Our messaging needs to change. We need to find our new relevance.
He couldn’t be more right.
I Cried Six Times Yesterday…
I started my day getting ready and putting on my make up
With my ear buds in talking to a business owner (and Better Marketing with Bella and Mastermind member) in Ohio. In the middle of the night. He messaged me that he just wanted me to know that he would most likely be closing his business and filing for bankruptcy.
I was shocked and immediately called him.
I told him I was going to sound like that nagging girlfriend or wife but that I WASNT LETTING HIM GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. I gave him some resources to look into, I told him to do a few things, and we got off the phone both of us scared and exhausted.
Then, I shuffled into the kitchen
Where I made my breakfast and called another Better Marketing with Bella and Mastermind member in Florida. Her and I had been messaging the day before and she was down to one client and had an hour drive to her facility every day.
She was scared because business came to a hault, she wasn’t going to make payroll and her business had a very personal back story of why she started it and it broke both of our hearts that she was thinking she might lose it.
I told her the same thing, DONT YOU DARE GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT.
I made a plan with her on the phone.
Challenged her to do a few things.
I told her to send me some verbiage and made her three extra graphics on the spot because her business (being pretty unique) needed to change their narrative (Thanks Mark Schaefer) and we needed to start marketing that angle.
As I moved to eating my breakfast
I called a few other clients telling them mostly the same thing but they were in different situations and also had some different outlooks on what they needed and wanted but the message stayed the same DO NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT.
Each time I got off the phone with these business owners I cried.
It is so hard for me, as a coach, who really does care about the livelihood of my clients to see them in despair. All I can really relate it to is a parent-child. I care so much for my Olivia and would do anything for her… but sometimes all I can do is instruct her and love her through it all. I just want to make it all better and make sure that she never hurts.
I really do feel that way about my clients.
Fight Fear with Fact
The Pet Industry COVID-19 Survival Group
I spent the rest of the day working hard at getting on the radar of some pretty heavy hitters in the financial industry. Using all my contracts sending messages out like:
I have a line up of stellar people. It is so heavy in the financial aspect to help small business owners understand the differences between furlough and layoff and what temporary closing and permanent closing and what government programs are out there or what legislation is coming or has been approved.
There is SO much happening and at warp speed right now.
So many people are scared, myself included – and I believe in fighting fear with FACT. So that is what we are going to do.
I have created a two week pop up group to educate and inform the pet industry from March 23rd to April 6th. It is called Pet Industry COVID-19 Survival Group.
We have over 10 confirmed speakers in two weeks there to support my community in all types of areas like
- Unemployment Law
- Human Resources
- Small Business Finances
- Social Media
- Contingency plans if you get sick
- A place for kids being at home and how to run your business
- Latest News Affecting Businesses
Please consider joining us.
This is where everything will be in ONE place. All the experts, resources, and no more sifting through random news articles being posted in other groups.
This is YOUR hub.
YOUR place to be supported and educated about YOUR business.
Let’s Address the Cost of This Group:
I struggled hard with this. I even polled my paid and free audiences and overwhelmingly you were in support of this. I hope you understand it has taken me about 30 hours to get this all organized for you. I hope you realize it will be incredibly valuable to you and your business. But moreso, it will not be for EVERYONE.
This is for those who have:
1. Temporarily closed their business
2. Want to FIGHT
3. Want to learn
4. Want to cut the clutter and have ONE place to go for support.
This is where I am going to show up guns blazing fighting for you. My lowest costing product out on the market is $79.00 THIS is only $29.00 for two weeks.
I hope you consider joining me because I am going to give you over $29 worth of value and just might help save your business.
Which leads me to the rest of the story…
I cried 2 more times yesterday.
It was when I got these messages:
These were messages from the two clients I told you about above within 2.5 hours of each other. They went beyond their comfort zone and did what they needed.
And guess what else?
Money is still rolling in. I am so proud of them I called them both immediately crying tears of happiness and relief.
Honestly… there are so many lessons to be learned here. I will let you reflect on those yourself. 🙂
I was so fired up with this that I stopped making dinner and went live on the Jump Consulting facebook page:
Asking for what they needed.
- For their clients to keep allowing them to do walks.
- For them to purchase gift certificates.
To help the small businesses get through these times. What happened was nothing short of miraculous. What I am about to share are actual messages that I have been given permission to share. This is another Better Marketing with Bella and Mastermind member 🙂
You Got This and I am Right Here With You.
I am sharing this to inspire YOU to action. Do not give up without a fight.
We can do this together. But it needs to be together.
Together we are stronger. Together it is harder to get down and stay down. We must be socially distant but social MEDIA TIGHT. I plea with everyone reading this to please join the group. Join me. Be educated. Let’s educate the industry. Let’s stop the fake news, the miss information from spreading, get knowledgeable about our actual options throughout this and know that we are currently going THROUGH it.
Something that the Grassroots gals Maggie and Kristen said this morning that I loved was that more people die from SHOCK than the actual accident. Don’t be one of those to just roll over and die because you don’t know your options or you haven’t gone down trying.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
I BELIEVE IN YOU.
Would you agree to board an airplane knowing that the pilot was simply ‘told’ what to do? Probably not! It’s not enough to TELL our employees what to do- it’s critical that we have clear guidelines and instructions in place to ensure our operations run smoothly and efficiently.
However, not all businesses are the same and not all standard operating procedures (SOPs) are made equal. It’s essential to have an SOP in place that is specific to YOUR business.
While you can model your SOP after other businesses, you’ll have to tweak it quite a bit for the pet care industry. If you simply try to copy and paste everything from an unrelated SOP…well, it’s a bit like wearing someone else’s underwear; it’s way better to have a fresh, clean SOP that’s tailored to your unique business!
As the owner of a pet sitting business, I quickly realized that simply telling my employees what to do was not nearly as effective as having a set of written instructions that they could follow step-by-step. Explaining how routine operations should be performed is crucial for any business, no matter the industry.
Wait, what exactly IS an SOP?
Standard Operating Procedures are crystal clear instructions created by a business to help employees carry out routine operations. SOPs aim to keep your business organized, increase the quality output, and create uniformity of performance. Remember, anyone in your organization should be able to understand each individual SOP.
Keep the language simple and take the time to explain key terms. SOPs help to significantly reduce miscommunication and boost overall employee confidence.
An SOP typically fails for one or more of the following reasons:
- Lack of clarity
- Lack of details
- The SOP isn’t easy to access
So, where do I begin?
An SOP can be anything from creating a new blog post to invoicing a new customer to drawing up a sales report and more! No matter what industry you’re in, SOPs can be extremely helpful to keep your team on track.
Think about EVERYTHING you do for your pet sitting business – from hiring and training to onboarding and offboarding clients, there are so many systems that happen each and every day. The key is to document each of these in your SOPs.
For my pet sitting business, my SOPs are alive…okay, they don’t bark or meow at me! But I treat them as living documents that I can make changes to as needed.
As your business grows, you may want to change how you jump into things and that’s great!
Whether your business is brand new or one that is quickly growing, be sure to keep all SOPs up-to-date and easily accessible. From printed documents to online sites, let it be known where all of these procedures live.
Asana or Trello are great project management tools, and also great places 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.
Remember, if your SOP is out of sight, it’s out of mind for your employees
You want to create a space where these procedures live that’s easy to jump to at a moment’s notice.
Once you have clear and accessible Standard Operating Procedures in place, you can let them do the work for you – this ultimately allows you to work on the bigger picture ideas that actually enhance and grow your business!
As a business owner, if you’re looking to scale your business, add employees, and move forward, you’ll want to put together SOPs sooner rather than later. Don’t let everything live in your head – it can get way too chaotic!
Put everything down on paper – real or virtual! Whatever works best for you. Jump into creating SOPs and your future self will thank you– I promise!
About The Author:
Liz Illg is the Owner of Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting with five locations in the Phoenix area. Not only has Liz turned her passion for animals into a thriving business, but she is also an expert when it comes to creating an environment of growth for your business as well. In fact, as an Operational Strategist, Liz specializes in working with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She can assist with everything from streamlining systems to creating manageable training and operational manuals. Liz received her Bachelor’s in Business from Arizona State University and her Master’s in Education from Northern Arizona University.
How To Know If You Should Promote From Within Or Hire From The Outside
You have grown your staff of pet sitters and dog walkers, but now you need internal back-office support. Now what? You’re probably debating on how to hire and thinking that you’ll just pull one of your pet sitters/dog walkers out of the field, that’s already working for you, and promote from within as an administrative assistant.
But is that really the best way to hire? Today we’re going to compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of promoting from within versus hiring from the outside.
A really good book on this topic that I highly recommend is Powerful: Building A Culture of Freedom & Responsibility. Check it out! 🙂
Defining The Job Duties
Before we can start thinking about hiring an office assistant, we first need to pinpoint exactly what duties this person would be taking over from you. From there, we can then consider who would be right for the job.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a perfect “avatar” in your head, which essentially outlines exactly the type of person that you want to hire. Think about these details when creating your avatar:
- Who are they?
- Where are they in life?
- What are their skillsets?
- How many hours are they looking for?
- How much work are they looking for?
- Do they work in the office? Or remote?
Once we have our avatar clearly defined, the next step is to create a job description based on our avatar and the job duties that we identified. Don’t just make one description – we will want to make a few different job descriptions to test what actually is working and what isn’t.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a one-time thing. You will have to hire for this position again and again and again. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find the perfect person that works for you for a year, but the key is to think about making this an easily replicated process so we don’t have to continually invest our own time and energy.
Are You Actually Ready To Hire?
Before you start hiring, it is absolutely critical that you have workflows and SOP’s (that’s standard operating procedures) created so that your new hire has guidelines and processes to follow. It needs to be all written out because employees can’t read our minds (as much as we would like them too!). The key is to transfer all of the valuable knowledge in your head to paper so that anybody can read it and follow the procedures step-by-step.
For help with this, consider reaching out to Liz Illg, a good friend of mine and a master at creating workflows/SOP’s.
Consider & Evaluate Backgrounds of People On The Team
Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to promote from within, I am totally on-board with that. The point I’m trying to make is that we need to carefully consider why you are choosing to promote from within versus hiring from the outside. What might be the easier choice, may not always be the best choice for your business.
Do you have a person on your team that just recently graduated from school and is very eager to get started in the workforce? Or maybe the employee you have in mind is someone that has been bouncing from job-to-job, is unfocused, and all over the place.
The truth is that most of the time, dog walkers & pet sitters are not a good fit for administrative assistants. They do a super job in the field, but that doesn’t always translate to the office.
We also have to carefully consider if we want to take them away from the excellent job they are doing as a pet sitter/dog walker. Or, maybe they are doing such a great job in the field, and the office is a better work environment for them.
The only way to really know is to create a series of assessments, also known as a “hiring gauntlet,” to see what their real skills are. Maybe they have a background in administrative work? Or maybe they just really understand what it takes to stay organized?
Also think about if this person is strictly going to follow directions, or if they can take initiative. Are they going to be able to pick up whatever you throw at them and run with it, or do you have to hold their hand? Are they a forward thinker and a go-getter?
I know it’s a lot, but all of these things are so important to consider 🙂
As business owners, it’s easy to get into the mindset that we want to promote from within because we love our staff! However, we also have to have careful consideration when it comes to evaluating skill sets and how the transition would affect the business by shifting the employee’s duties from one “department” to another. The key is to make this determination from a scientific mindset, not an emotional one.
The Secret To Knowing What To Post On Social Media
When it comes to knowing what to post on social media, you’re probably in one of these camps:
- You repost everyone else’s content
- You don’t post and feel guilty about it.
- You post way too much and get no traction or engagement.
- You always post last-minute or spur-of-the-moment.
- You post whenever you feel like it. The posts have limited insight into your business and don’t tell a cohesive story about who you are or what you do.
The key to knowing what to post is to create 5 buckets to save your presence.
5 Buckets To Save Your Presence
What I want you to do first is come up with 5 buckets, or categories, that your social media posts will fall into. Here are a few ideas:
- Food (Pets)
- Local Hot Spots
- Staff Highlights
- Pet/Life Hacks
- Food (Humans)
- Local Dog Spots
- Community Business
- Clients Problems That You Solve
Once you pick your 5 major buckets (and you don’t have to do the ones I listed above – those are just ideas), you will now have some direction on what type of content to populate. Your posts will fall into one of your 5 categories, or it won’t.
That way when something comes across your desk, or you see a post online, you’re not necessarily going to always share it just because you like it. Try to use the buckets as a litmus test to see if it matches up. This will help you really narrow down what to post on social media.
Other Benefits To Using The Bucket Strategy
Now that you know you have your buckets/topics, you’ll know better where to “look” for content.
For example, maybe you want a dog walking bucket. That means you can direct your dog walkers to start sharing stories, tips, tricks, what happens on walks, etc. Extract tidbits from them that you can turn into relevant content.
Having buckets is also going to make it 100 times easier to delegate out your social media, once you’re ready.
When it’s time to hand over this position to a pet sitter or dog walker on your staff or even an office assistant, you just have to let them know about your 5 posting areas.
The bucket strategy is also going to help you be more mindful when you’re in the world traveling and out-and-about. You’ll be able to identify important and relevant content more easily.
Plus, you’ll find yourself being more present and less passive about knowing what to post social media.
Better Marketing With Bella
Despite everything I just said, you still have to be creative when creating social media content. For example, maybe you find or think of a relevant piece of content, but you still have to write about it to be interesting and informative.
As business owners, we get bogged-down, overworked, stressed, tired, and anxious. We feel like our brains are going in 100 different directions, and the last thing we have time to do is to be creative about posts that are going to get people’s attention and stop the scroll.
That’s where we come in. In Better Marketing With Bella, we figure out the creative side. We create the concepts for you, so you don’t have to.
Maybe your strong suit isn’t making graphics? Some people are not the best at making graphics, and we certainly don’t want your brand’s reputation to suffer because of it. We hire professional graphic designers that can really take your brand’s image to the next level.
Plus, we give you five videos every single month. Are you going to sit down and create videos to figure out:
- Where should the pop-up’s be?
- How many transitions should I have?
- How fast should the video be?
- What kind of music should I use?
- Where should the video pan-in/zoom-in/zoom-out?
It’s a lot.
Then you have to figure out what you’re going to write in your email newsletters. Are you going to sit down and figure out what’s interesting? How will you know what’s too much, and what’s not enough?
We also make your Facebook and Instagram stories prettier. Are you going to create them in Canva/Easil and then upload them to your social platforms?
Overall, the secret to knowing what to post on social media is that there really is no secret. You literally need to plan. Maybe your plan is to let us help you through Better Marketing With Bella. Everything I listed above are actionable steps that every business owner should be doing.
You should never just be posting a Facebook status – every status needs a picture. And you should never just be posting a video – every video needs a caption!
Plan to be timely, new, relevant, and bold with your branding/logo. All of this stuff can take a long time. Start with creating your 5 buckets, but at the end of the day, you still have to create all of the content, which can be exhausting.
Here’s Why Your 2020 Pet Business Goals Are Probably Dead By Now
Did you know that studies show approximately 80% of New Years Resolutions fail by the second week of February? If you’re reading this right now, chances are that you are not keeping up with your pet business goals each and every day – am I right?
Don’t worry, because I am here to get you back on track 🙂
Maybe you aren’t sure why your resolutions died a quick death. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Did you plan not to fail?
- Did you set your goals?
- How are you doing with your goals?
Today we’ll discuss a few of my surefire strategies for goal planning to keep the momentum up and the creative juices flowing.
Before you can properly execute goals, it’s important to understand what goals are. So what are goals? The pet business goals we like to talk about in the Mastermind are SMART Goals.
S – Specific: It’s important to be specific about the goal that you want to accomplish. Think about this step as a sort of “mission statement” for your goal and should include the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, and why?
M – Measurable: Next, think about what metrics you are going to use to determine whether or not you’re on track for your goal. This makes your goal tangible since you’ll have a way to properly measure your progress.
A – Attainable: Now, think about how important your goal is to you and what you need in order to make it achievable. Perhaps you need a specific tool or skill – how are you going to obtain that to achieve your goal?
R – Relevant: Life moves fast as a business owner, so we want to make sure that we are setting goals that are in alignment with your broad business goals. In short, don’t waste your time on something that is not going to help you get where you want to go.
T – Timely: This is perhaps one of the most important steps. Anybody can set a goal, but a goal without realistic timing is nothing more than a wish. Set reasonable, specific deadlines and hold yourself to them!
When setting your pet business goals, what is the timeframe you set for yourself for achieving them? Are they 1-year, 5-year, or 10-year goals?
Now think about this – what were your goals last year? Do you remember specifically? Did you achieve them? Did you think about them every day? Did you write them down?
The timeframe that I really like to help people focus on is 90-day goals. In fact, research shows that our brains just simply cannot absorb long-term, multi-year goals. They are too complex, overwhelming, and lack instant gratification.
90-day goals allow us to achieve a sense of instant gratification and allow us to celebrate small wins. It’s a short enough amount of time to comprehend your goals, and you can even break them down further into 30-day and 60-day goals. These timeframes are more achievable and lead to greater success.
Plus, don’t forget to celebrate your wins! Celebrating is immensely important but is often forgotten.
Why Did You Fail?
No accountability. If your goals are a secret, it’s tough to hold yourself accountable. People need to know about your pet business goals (i.e. friends, family, etc.) so they can help support and encourage you.
Not clearly defined. A goal like ” I want more balance in my life” or “I want to be healthier” is too broad. What do those things mean? You want to break your goal down to an attainable, step-by-step plan. It’s really hard to achieve a goal if not properly defined.
Too Tired/Stressed/Not Enough Time. Most of us are overworked, anxiety-ridden, and maybe even depressed due to having no direction in life. Maybe you have trouble even falling asleep. Is that why you failed? Because you were tired or stressed? Stress and anxiety come from not being decisive.
Uncommitted. Writing a goal down or having a visual cue is an important and necessary first step. But it’s just that – a first step. Maybe you had your goal written down on the door or mirror, but you weren’t committed every day. Maybe you walked by your goal each day and thought, “Someday I’ll do that.” Remember this: someday will never come!
Be A Winner
- Post Your Goal. You need to be able to see your goal every day. This can be done through a vision board, sign, sticky note, etc. Post it somewhere visible like your closet or bathroom.
- Tell Somebody. Goals shouldn’t be secrets! You need to tell the important people in your life such as your friends and family about your goals so they can hold you accountable. Maybe you will post your goal on Facebook so it can remind you in a year? Or maybe you have an accountability partner or best friend to help keep you on track?
- Be Intentional. How are you making decisions with your goals in mind? When you squeeze out an extra 30 minutes in your day, are you falling back on your goals? Are your goals the backbone of your day?
Jessica joined the Jump Mastermind after being on the fence about trying to get her pet sitting business off the ground and working a part-time job. She joined the Mastermind and made the jump. Cut her part-time job down to about 5-10 hours a week.
She made her 90-day goals and all of a sudden we just kept seeing DONE, DONE, DONE, DONE written on there. She now has a complete client retention plan, key performance indicator sheets…. and wait, let me just show you. Her current goals include:
Current Goals:Focus Words for 2020 = Growth, Consistency, Control
Super Big Goals for 2020:1. $150,000 in revenue with a 35% profit with me being in field less than 5% of the time (~27 visits a month). I will do this to match my previous, full time Chemistry income.
–> This will be done by focusing on getting 3-4 regular dog walking or puppy program (5X a week clients) in each of our servicing towns. Pet sitting and irregulars can supplement this goal as dailies sometimes take breaks for holidays, life changes, etc.2. Be confident and proud of our employee and customer experience programs measured by employee retention of at least 1 year (unsure how to measure customer experience program success – Bella help?)3. Ability to work on the weekends at my leisure by hiring a weekend manager. I will do this so I can spend more time with my family, friends and significant other without worrying or feeling guilty. I will also have the option TO work if I’d like to.
This girl is on FIRE!
If you want to get crystal clear. If you want to take your business where YOU want it to go. If you want to have time and monetary freedom in life… and you aren’t getting it right now, it might be a good time to stop doing what you are currently doing and try something new.
I would love to help you.
How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?
As business owners, we spend countless hours per day dealing with all things staff. This could range from hiring and training to just answer staff questions through phone calls or text. Managing your staff is a never-ending routine, and I see it leading to burnout all too often. Maybe you’ve even had one of these thoughts cross your mind recently?
“Why don’t my staff just know how to do their job?”
“I cannot believe my staff didn’t know how to do XYZ”
“Are they really calling me about such a stupid question?”
“Why don’t my staff have any common sense?”
There are a few potential reasons why you and your staff are having this disconnect. First, your staff may not know how to find the information. Or, perhaps maybe they lack the confidence to do what they think is the right course of action. Perhaps they know the answer, but they’re so afraid of upsetting you that they just aren’t 100% sure.
Today we’re going to explore a few proven methods for how you can ensure that your staff is retaining your training materials, which will ultimately build their confidence within their role while freeing up time for you! 🙂
Testing & Training
What type of tests do you have for your staff? There are many kinds of tests, but some of the most popular are in-person, written, and on-the-go.
A popular method that I’ve always recommended (and used in my own business!) is to give newly hired pet sitters a written test during their orientation. My pet sitting employee handbook and training manual used to be 60+ pages long, so it really wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to expect them to remember every piece of information on every page. That’s where my 10-question written test came in – to help hone in on those key areas I really wanted my staff to remember.
Another type of test, the in-person test, is perfect to use during training and ride-along. Having a newly-hired pet sitter aimlessly shadowing can be overwhelming without a clear sense of direction. It’s important to be realistic and understand that the human brain is really good at retaining a few pieces of key information, but isn’t always so good at remembering all of the tiny, minute details.
One way to really drive home those important hitters is to come up with a “10 Point Visit Checklist” or something similar that you can demonstrate and walkthrough during your training visits.
Last but not least – testing is not only reserved for new hires! A great method to use for seasoned employees is testing-on-the-go. When you’re asked questions, try to refrain from just feeding them the answer.
I know that can sound a little strange, but always answering every single question point-blank can hurt your staff more than it’s helping them. You want to encourage them to think critically and teach them how to find the answer themselves, instead of reinforcing the idea that you’ll serve as an open-book of information.
Check out this example:
Pet Sitter: I need some help – I’m currently at a client’s home and I don’t see one of their cats. What should I do?
You: That’s a great question. What do you think you should do?
Pet Sitter: Well, first I think I should fully search the house, including all potential hiding spaces. Maybe then I can bring out some treats to try and entice the kitty to come out.
You: Perfect – give that a try first and let’s see how it goes 🙂
See how much more fruitful that is for your staff? You allowed the employee to think through the problem and come up with the solution themselves, instead of you telling them outright.
Here comes the big question – how often within 3 months are you reusing your training materials? That’s right – I’m looking at all of the people who whip out their employee handbook/training manual for orientation, only for it never to be looked at again by your staff.
I get it – being a business owner is busy.
However, it’s really important to get away from the mindset that training is “one-and-done.” Training is an ongoing, never-ending learning process, so we want to make sure you are consistently reintegrating your training materials into your staff’s routine.
Let’s take a step back and do some thinking.
How many staff meetings do you have per month, quarter, or year? Of these meetings, how big/small are they? Are they mandatory, expected, or optional? What kind of meetings are they? Are they meetings over a meal, or a group Zoom call? How do you communicate with your staff? Do you use email, texting, or Slack?
Take some time to really think about these questions and determine what you’ve found to work and what you’ve found not to work.
To help with this, Liz Illg, pet business powerhouse, and myself are coming out soon with a brand-new series of 12 professionally-shot videos that you can reuse again and again for staff meetings. Stay tuned for more information on this project 🙂
Ways To Learn Your Training Info
It’s also important to recognize that people learn in all different kinds of ways. A one-size-fits-all approach is just simply not effective for ensuring your staff retaining your training information. In fact, research shows that there are 7 different learning styles:
- Visual/Spatial: Using images or visual cues to process information.
- Examples: Pictures, videos, and demonstrations.
- Auditory/Musical: Responding primarily to sound
- Examples: Audio recordings or audiobooks
- Verbal/Linguistic: Learns under both verbal instruction and through writing.
- Examples: Handbooks, training manuals, and tests.
- Physical/Kinesthetic: Going through the motions of what is being learned.
- Examples: Hands-on training, ridealongs
- Logical/Mathematical: Learns through understanding the reasoning behind content and skills.
- Examples: Dog/Cat behavior guides
- Social/Interpersonal: Natual group workers that are engaged with others and love working within teams.
- Examples: Group training sessions and activities.
- Solitary/Intrapersonal: Individuals who prefer to learn on their own and keep to themselves.
- Examples: Employee Handbook/Training Manual self-study
It’s important to understand and keep these different learning styles in mind so that you have training content that can meet the needs of any type of learner. A great start is to implement video training within your pet sitting business. and to develop an employee handbook/training manual.
Another way that we can make sure your staff is retaining information is to simply ask your clients! Here are a few questions that can help:
- How clean was your house when you returned?
- Would you recommend us to your neighbors?
- Was your dog visibly tired after his/her walk?
- On a scale of 1-10, how safe do you feel with us coming and going from your home?
On one hand, it makes clients feel good that their opinion matters and on the other hand, you are obtaining valuable feedback. Don’t feel pushy asking for feedback! If you do it on a regular basis, it will come to be expected and your clients won’t mind at all 🙂
Overall, pouring into your staff and a fun and resourceful way, not in a dominating way, can go a long way towards training retention. It’s important to recognize that training is not just a 2-hour orientation, but an ongoing process that’s implemented into your long term plan with employees.
Finding the right employees is critical for your business. Not only do you need to hire people to get the job done, but these folks should also uphold your mission and company values. If you’ve just finished an interview for a pet sitting or dog walking job but you’re still feeling unsure whether or not this person is your ideal pet sitter/dog walker, you’re not alone! It can be tough to discern one candidate from another– especially if you’re having great conversations.
Just because you get along well with a candidate doesn’t mean they’d be an ideal employee. Don’t jump right in and hire the wrong person! There are three major points you should note when deciding on a new hire.
Three Steps To Knowing If The Candidate Is Right For the Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Job:
Start Prepping for the Dog Walking Job Early.
Pay Attention to the Speed.
Have Proper Evaluations
Start Prepping For The Dog Walking Job Early
How do you know if you’ve found the right candidate for the dog walking job? Ideally, you should already know before his or her resume even lands on your desk. Think about people you’d like to hire down the road – what type of person are you looking for?
- What type of gauntlet are you going to create?
- What are you testing candidates for?
- What kind of phases or hoops are you going to have folks jump through?
Remember, hiring starts a long time before it actually starts. The earlier you prep, the easier it’ll be to recognize an excellent candidate from a poor one when they apply.
If you wait to think about the characteristics of the person you need at the point in time when you really need them, you’ll be overwhelmed. It might even pressure you to quickly hire someone unfit for the job.
I have four phases I utilize within Jazz HR to keep track of candidate progress. Sometimes that involves having a candidate get on camera for a video chat. Sure, it can be awkward – but how far are you willing to go for the job? That is what this Phase really shows the interviewer.
It’s not about having great lighting or even how good of a speaker the candidate is. It’s about getting outside of your comfort zone– it also tests how well this person interacts with different software platforms. If you can’t send one min video, how computer literate are you?
Questions aren’t just being thrown against the wall to see what sticks. You need to have distinct correct and incorrect answers for every question you ask.
Still feeling unsure about knowing if someone is right for the dog walking or pet sitting job? Join the free 3-hour Jump and Scale avatar training class. You’ll learn how to prep for hiring and how to ultimately hire the right person.
Pay Attention to the Speed in Which You Offer the Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Job.
Think about dating – if you went on a date and you didn’t hear back from the person for two weeks, you’d lose interest! The same goes for hiring a new employee. You have to be intentional about speed.
You should be interacting with potential hires at least once a day. There should never be a point where days and days go by. Remember, these people are looking for jobs. The candidates you’re meeting with are probably interviewing with many other companies. If you really want someone, you need to act fast.
On the flip side, you’ll know a person isn’t right for the job if they don’t respond to you just as quickly. However, if you haven’t heard back, consider these points:
- Did you give them a date to respond to?
- Were there clear expectations? (ex. please respond within 24 hours to still be considered)
With our unemployment rate so low (3.7%), it’s critical now more than ever that companies be attractive to candidates. How long or short is your hiring process? Is it something you can move through very quickly, or does it take weeks and weeks of your time? How long is your probationary period?
These are all questions you need to think about. When I hire someone, I give them a 30-day probationary period. By then, you’ll find out if what they said during the interview is truth or fiction. It will also give you time to complete any outstanding background checks.
Plus, you get to create key testable moments. See what their attitude is after they’ve been walking dogs all day or have had to walk in the rain.
Always Evaluate the Person You Are Interviewing For The Dog Walking Job
No matter how much you enjoyed your time with a candidate on a personal level, you need to evaluate how he or she would be as an employee. Consider the following questions:
- Is this person able to be a self-starter?
- Are they going to be able to take initiative?
- Are they going to know all the tools they need are in the toolshed?
If you hire someone who is constantly poking his or her head in the house to ask where to go/what to do/etc., then this person is not going to be the best hire.
Consider how you’re going to evaluate each person as well.
- Is it a mathematical process?
- Will you use a 1-10 score?
The process will become less emotional and more analytical this way.
You need to know exactly what number means what. If they get a 6, they’re disqualified; it doesn’t matter how much you like them.
Remember – a visionary should not be involved in the nitpicking and sifting through applications and going through first and second interviews.
The key to knowing if a candidate is right for a pet sitting job is to create a system so you’re not wasting time/money/effort on things that don’t matter. When you put in the forethought and make hiring a measurable process, you can quantify your gamble with the odds in your favor.
How Can You Tell If The Candidate is Right For The Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Job?
Consider what you want or can manifest what you want beforehand…many people jump right in before they even know what they want in a new hire! If you can prep, be quick, and have a process for evaluation, you’ll be golden. Do you have any secrets to your process? I would love to know. Feel free to share below!
When I created my first flier back in 2003 for my former company “Bella’s House & Pet Sitting” it was a wreck. I think I used clip art for Microsoft word. I used ariel font and I hadn’t a clue what font my logo was at the time.
Everything I created looked so homemade, and although we didn’t have all the amazing image creating programs we have these days, like Easil, I still had no excuse.
But they don’t tell you to “know your fonts” or have a brand guide when you start out. Heck, you are lucky if you have a logo that isn’t created from clip art!
It wasn’t until I was ten years in business that I even knew what a brand guide was and that is why I am typing this to you today.
What Does A Font Say?
Take a look at the above fonts. What do they feel to you? Each one is very different, right? Imagine your brand sporting each one of those fonts. Let me note that each of those fonts are all in the same exact font size so you can see how some are larger and smaller than others.
Here are my thoughts:
- Are – Pretty run of the mill. Standard. Believable. Professional even.
- You – Same as above, although it is a little larger.
- Using – Hard to read. Maybe even midevil? It makes me have to think about what it is saying.
- The – Looks like a magic marker? Little more authentic. Like someone wrote it. Personable?
- Wrong – That is pretty in your face. Sorta playful.
- Font – Little kid handwriting. Not professional. Almost childish and not instilling a lot of trust.
- In – Too scrolly. Also pretty large
- Your – I think it is fun and playful. I dig it. Although it is a bit small.
- Business – Juvenile. Like I would see it at a preschool or something like that? Also very large… perhaps hard from a design perspective?
There are thousands of fonts out there! It sure can get overwhelming to decide what you want for your brand. But a decision must be made.
Think for a minute.
Can you picture the font for Disney?
Now imagine that font on McDonald’s. Whaaaaat? That wouldn’t look right!?!
You would see the McDonald’s sign and see the font and immediately THINK of Disney… even though that isn’t what it is representing.
Your Font Can Evoke Emotion or Non Emotion
This is where using two fonts in your branding can be beneficial. The main font can be bold, attention-grabbing, emotional, while the second font should be more run of the mill. Or at least that is what I believe!
Your main font should be something that reflects your brand. Are you professional? Serious? Playful? Loving? Don’t be afraid to use two fonts.
How Are You Using Your Fonts?
Your fonts are things you should know the name of. You should own a license to it, if it is not free already. You should have it on your website, logo, all marketing materials, brochures, apparel, everything! It is what helps you be noticed for “Oh that is so and so company.” The problem is I don’t see many pet companies following through with this.
It is a factor that we have always tried to acknowledge with our Better Marketing with Bella program. It is where we provide emails, graphics, videos, captions, gifs, and more to our members every single month. Not only is their logo and colors used, but also their fonts. We believe that it is important to keep the cohesiveness of your brand. You can get on the waitlist for this program if you are interested!
How A Font Can Help You In A Rebrand.
If you want to give your company a facelift, sometimes all it takes is a font change. Take for example when I did this to Jump Consulting. I felt like it was too corporate and I went on a mission to change it. It was a slight change but I feel made a big difference.
We went from this Times New Roman type font:
to the logo you see at the top of this page. The Font is less structured and a little more playful to me. So two years ago I changed it. I also changed from red and white to blue and white but that is an entirely different blog *wink*
What Does Your Font Say About Your Company?
So how did you pick your font? Did you pick your font? Did a designer do it? Did you pick it based off a bunch shown to you. WHY did you pick that font? What do you think your font(s) say about your company? Tell me below in the comments. I want to know!
Whether you have new hires or you want to give current staff a refresher on your business, planning a training session can be time-consuming and overwhelming! You want your employees to be able to jump right into things, but what’s the best way to support staff learning within your pet sitting business? Video training is the answer.
Research has shown that video improves learning results. In a digital world where people’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, the video provides a snappy solution for training staff members.
Forrester Research estimates “one minute of online video equates to approximately 1.8 million written words.” Isn’t that crazy!?
Additionally, “90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual– and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text!”
If you want your staff to retain as much information as possible about your business then setting up video training should be your next step. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Keep it short and sweet.
If you’re going to do video trainings, don’t create super long content. If you have several topics you want to discuss, break them up into smaller videos.
- Break up videos with images.
While talking heads are great to drive points home, nobody is going to want to stare at one person talking to a camera for 3 minutes. Jazz up training videos with fun images, infographics, and other visuals to keep your staff members engaged.
- Make your videos interactive.
Once you’ve got your staff’s attention with videos, keep them engaged with tests, polls, and other interactive features. You can include buttons within videos that say, “click here to learn more!” and other call to action phrases.
Video Training Online When They Are Alert.
This is also great for staff members because they can complete these trainings from anywhere! You can designate time at work for them to do the trainings, or allow people to complete them at home. It’s also a huge benefit if the videos are both mobile- and web-friendly.
Video Training Is More Likley To Be Consumed
Again, according to Forrester Research, “employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or web articles.” Another great thing about video training is that your staff members can always refer back to them.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to sort and sift through physical documents to try and find a resource or bit of information needed for work. With video, staff members can jump in and go to the exact point in the video with the information they were looking for.
Gartner Research also recommends video as a support tool, especially for training purposes One report notes, “There are cost and time savings to be made in reusing content, compared to running the same live conferencing session multiple times.”
Video Training Doesn’t Have To Be Boring.
Video is an excellent tool because it can take so many different forms. It can be animated, it can be you and your team members talking, or a mix and match! You don’t have to follow some corporate structure when creating your videos – keep the content true to your business and your brand!
Training videos can be exciting, humorous, informative, and engaging all at once. Of course, your tone may vary on the topic being discussed but definitely get creative with your content. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with staff trainings, video can help take much of that pressure off so that you can spend more time jumping into other projects!
Incorporating Video Training Into Your Pet Business Onboarding Program:
Videos can also be incorporated at any point in staff training. Once you hire a new pet sitter or dog walker, you can send them an intro training video to get them started. You can provide new videos each quarter or annually to staff members as well.
Video also provides a great way for employees to understand everyone’s role within your organization. It’s easy for people to get caught up in their own day-to-day jobs, but video training can really bring everyone together to ensure your team is on the same page.
Beware! Video Training Is Only One Component
Of course, you shouldn’t replace all pieces of training with video. Be sure to make yourself available if members of your staff have questions following a training video. Plus, while many people are visual learners, make note that not everyone will be. There may still be a need to have physical documents for training as well as in-person sessions, depending on a person’s role within your company.
Have fun with these staff training videos and know that they’ll ultimately serve to help everyone to learn in a way that will save both time and money.
One of the most challenging aspects of running any pet sitting business is the hiring process. Not only are you looking for those who align with your values and mission, you are trying to convince people why they should want to work for you! Many business owners forget that hiring is a two-way street. In fact, it’s much like dating: hiring is about people loving you as much as you love them!
Below are five tips that all employers need to understand.
- Update job description wording
- Start asking different questions
- Create a shorter timeline
- Add extra touches
- Give visuals
Remember, the hiring process should be exciting for both hirers and applicants. Many hiring managers and employers complain that applicants don’t get back to them– chances are you just need a little help in the application department.
Update Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Job Description Wording
When you’re looking to fill a pet sitting position – and any position for that matter! – wording within your job description is crucial.
Remember, looking for a job can be really tedious and depressing for people. It can be exhausting sifting through help wanted ads, especially when so many ads simply list what people should be doing or what they need to have.
Try and make your job titles and descriptions more fun and off the beaten path.
Don’t be afraid to use a more conversational tone, like, ‘hey girl, imagine this!…’.
Descriptive words paint a visual picture, making prospective hires much more interested in you than the sea of more robotic job descriptions. Looking for pet sitters?
Let them know, ‘this is a job you’ll never want to let go of because you’ll be out in the sunshine with dogs!’
Let the personality of both you and your business really shine through. Don’t know where to start? My advice is to record yourself talking about who you’re looking for and what you want out of a new hire. Then you can write down the words you actually want to convey!
Start Asking Different Questions
During the hiring process, there are tons of questions – from the job application itself to the actual interview.
Of course, you’ll have to address the more standard (boring) questions like, ‘Do you have a car?’, ‘Do you have insurance?’, etc.
But, again, don’t be afraid to have fun with your questions!
Ask applicants why they think your job would be the best job ever, or why they stopped scrolling and made the decision to apply. For a pet sitting gig, you may even ask a fun questions like, ‘What’s your favorite dog breed?’
Also, don’t be afraid to break up the interview process into phases.
By the time you get someone in front of you, you should already know a lot about them. But that’s only possible if you ask the right questions beforehand. Of course, you don’t want your job description and application to have five pages of questions– break it up into five interview phases instead!
Create a hierarchy of needs for your business; is it really important that someone is a caretaker? Then ask about responsibility and showing up on time. By now you’re in the third or fourth phase of the interview process and can really dive into the nitty gritty!
Create A Shorter Timeline For Applicants
The hiring process can be quite lengthy if you don’t have all your ducks – err, dogs – in a row!
You want to make sure the time it takes you to get applicants through the process is short but along. What I mean by that is you’ll want to have a workflow set-up into phases. But make it simple for someone to move through them – for example, a person can move from phase one to two with just the click of a mouse depending on their responses.
You don’t want to waste time with applicants who aren’t the right fit, so be sure to get them through these phases first. Really think about them ahead of time; it’ll be time consuming but, in the words of author Steve Kamb, “we all start at suck.”
When you meet someone face-to-face, you should be armed with as much knowledge about them as they have about your business– but don’t drag this process out. If it’s more than a week, it’s too long. People are not going to wait around for you and will simply find another pet sitting job.
Add Extra Touches – Little Things Matter!
If you want to stand out from other employers, you’ll want to make applicants feel special throughout the hiring process.
Whether it’s buying a cup of coffee if you’re meeting face-to-face or using a feature where you send a follow-up text after they’ve submitted an application, there are so many small things that can make a huge difference!
Remember, people are applying to a lot of jobs and you want to think of little things to help applicants along the way to show that you’re an employer who really cares. If you’re meeting via Zoom, something as simple as sending instructions via email beforehand to make sure the applicant is all set can be a game changer. Even the most qualified applicants can get nervous before interviews, so this is a neat way to ease a bit of stress.
Applying for jobs is a bit like blind dating – even with the job description and interviews, you may still be unsure what you’re getting yourself into.
When you think about hiring someone, consider showing them what a pet sit looks like. Instagram stories can be great for this. Create highlight reels for pet sitting, dog walking, cat sitting, etc. and send applicants links to short videos. This will give them much more insight as to what they can expect when working for you. Consider having a staff member speak on camera about why he/she loves working for you.
You Be You, Boo!
There are so many ways you can make pet sitting and dog walking applicants fall in love with your business.
Remember, there is no exact formula you need to follow – stay true to your business and your brand when writing job descriptions.
Keep your tone more conversational and be quick to respond to any prospective hire’s questions, comments, or concerns. If they know you truly care, they’ll be that much more eager to accept a position at your company!
Feeling overwhelmed with content creation? Spend more time with clients and their beloved four-legged friends by planning and creating your graphics ahead of time! While jumping in and creating three months’ worth of content may sound harrowing, it’ll save you plenty of time in the end– trust me!
This practice is becoming increasingly more common in marketing and is known as “batching.” Batching is essentially taking time – with little to no distractions – to concentrate on completing “batches” of work in one sitting.
Of course, you can take breaks, but the key here is to complete a bunch of work ahead of time so you don’t have to constantly worry about it. You’ll be able to focus more of your attention on bigger ideas!
When it comes to planning and creating graphics for your pet business, a big problem for many is that it becomes a daily bug. To keep your business relevant, you want to be present across various social platforms.
However, if you save this work until the last minute, it becomes easy to simply re-share other people’s content. While that’s not a bad thing, you don’t want to become so stressed that you copy work from others.
For fresh and original content, take time to plan ahead. Below are six tips for you to jump in!
1. Look at Your Calendar
When preparing graphics for the next three months, take time to look at all upcoming dates on the calendar. Make note of common holidays and lesser-known ‘fun holidays.’ From National Walk Your Dog Month (January) to Pet Obesity Day (Oct. 10), there are plenty of days to create content around! Any holidays or an upcoming event that has to do with dog walking or pet sitting should be recognized. Consider when people may be traveling a lot and will be looking for your services in greater demand.
2. Make Note of Your Launches or Promotions
Take a look at your upcoming launches and marketing promotions for the year. Consider creating special content around different points in the year. Perhaps it’s back to school time – people will be looking for dog walkers and pet sitters while their children are at school. Maybe it’s summer and you know dog walking might drop, but pet sitting will spike. Create graphics that highlight these points to grab people’s attention. By planning graphics ahead of time, you’ll always be a step ahead of the game!
3. Decide On The Platform
The market is saturated with various marketing design tools and websites. It’s easy to get swept up, designing random graphics on different platforms. One of my favorite tools is also one of my partners, Easil. It’s an easy-to-use platform that allows content creates to make all sorts of fun marketing materials! Plus, you can easily store your brand’s fonts, colors, and more to make designing a breeze. If you enjoy making videos, I’d recommend using wave.video as well!
There is even a service that is lead by a major graphic designer and software Founder that provides pet businesses with new graphics each month. Technically, you could go in there every three months and download 40 graphics for your business. Not just download, but also add your logo, change the color to your colors AND then fonts. Pretty nifty, huh? Check out Pet Social. I am hooking you up with $30 off a month if you use code BV30
4. Create a Brand Guide
Having a brand guide – or brand bible – is essential for any business! This guide should include:
- The lingo your brand uses
- Your brand colors
- Your brand fonts
- and more
Brand guides ensure that anyone who works with your company can have a great understanding of how your brand should look and sound. They should be able to look at this guide and understand what kind of graphics and copy is expected of your brand.
Having cohesive messaging and style is key when marketing your unique services. It is the difference between you knowing that it is Apple, or Mercedes, or Disney, and not knowing what the brand is because the design isn’t consistent.
5. Types of Graphics
When planning ahead, you’ll want to consider the type of graphics you’re going to create. Different things you could consider:
- Are you going to keep the graphics clean, crisp, and simplistic?
- Is your messaging going to be funny?
- Will it be educational?
- Do you want your graphics to convey unique tips for clients and/or users?
- Will you use GIFs/videos/etc.?
There is so much to consider, especially with the plethora of tools available today! Do yourself a huge favor by figuring out the type of graphics and how many you’ll create of each type in advance. Take a look at this. It is a gif that was made in Easil for our Better Marketing with Bella program.
6. Schedule it
Now that you’ve created all of this content ahead of time, you’ll want to be sure to use a scheduling tool to get it out there! The last thing you want is to create graphics only to forget or become too busy to actually post them! I recommend using a tool like Agorapulse (get two free months with this link) which allows users to schedule the date and time for each post on whichever platform you choose (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). When you take time to schedule everything in advance, all you’ll have to do is engage with people once something’s posted.
*I am an affiliate for both of these companies.
Only Plan and Create Your Graphics Every 3 Months!
These 6 points are all the things you need to consider when creating graphics for your pet business ahead of time. If you can sit down and answer these questions, you’ll only have to do ‘batching’ once every three months!
Umm, amazing, right? Then, you just have to worry about engaging with everyone.
That’s just four times a year versus having to create last-minute daily content.
Have you always wanted to do more with your marketing but don’t know how? Or you just don’t have the time that it takes? I’m here to help! Join me for Better Marketing with Bella! Sign up today to reserve your spot on the waitlist.
Each year I set out to write an epic post about what has been changing in the pet industry and how you can take it into consideration when planning the next year coming up.
Last year I wrote about the State of the Pet Industry in 2019 and commented on some major trends I was seeing like:
- The Consumers Are Changing From Baby Boomers To Millennials
- There Are A Lot Of Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses For Sale
- Rover And Wag Have Entered The Room
- Regulations Are In Full Effect
- Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses Are Growing At The Fastest Rate Ever!
- The Use Of Software Is (and Will Continue To Be) at an All-Time High
All of these have proven to be very real and relevant in the way the industry is growing and changing and those who have decided to embrace these trends have been the ones that have grown.
More Educated Business Investments
I was on the phone last month with a couple who were considering buying a $500K business in a major city and I advised them not to because the workers were all non-compliant. (Also known as…) They were all independent contractors.
After explaining to them the implications that it would mean for their investment, they were in agreement. They didn’t want to gamble their investment on something that could come down the pipeline and hurt them. They didn’t want the high risk associated with independent contractors. Ninety percent of the businesses I get to know with ICs are operating out of compliance.
If you are a business that is growing and scaling – please make sure that you are compliant. A great resource for this is the Pet Industry Coalition. They are a group of tremendous pet business owners encouraging pet sitters to be in compliance with all the major employment laws that are increasingly waving through the country.
Using Rover To Your Advantage
Rover isn’t going anywhere. In fact they continue to raise more and more money and they aren’t deflating anytime soon.
It is time to get our heads out of the sand and realize that a real value proposition is important.
Understanding why people pick them is important. We had an astounding discussion about this inside the Mastermind a few months ago with our Hot Seat guest Dan Gingiss, a customer experience guru who really drove home the idea that the reason why Rover is killing it is because of their user experience.
1. Does my website click or scroll?
2. Can someone sign up with me and feel like they can check pet care off their to-do list?
3. How emotional is my website?
4. How interactive is my website?
5. Is my website about me or my potential client and their problems?
Re-doing your website is a tough thing. It is hard to get outside your own head and understand what to write for the copy. It is hard to understand what you are selling, what your calls to action should be, what the HERO story is all about. That is why (sometimes) it is important to have someone help you with this. Of course, I have a person for this *wink*
Rover it successful isn’t because their pet sitting and dog walking is so amazing. It is because their pathway to entry is so easy that a busy mom can do it half asleep in bed at 1am.
However you might agree or disagree with this – the fact remains, this is real life. This is what you are competing against.
Get Smarter Using Technology
I would like to predict that in 2020 business owners will get smarter about the technology they are using in 3 different ways:
1. They will use the technology they have at their fingertips and PAYING for to its fullest advantage. There is nothing more disheartening when a company has technology but only using 20% of its capabilities.
2. Evaluate if the limitations of the technology they are using, and the workarounds they have created are helping or hurting their business and make changes accordingly.
3. Get their entire staff and clientele to adopt the usage of all the technology to help increase their business systems therefor actually reducing some costs.
This really can mean a lot of things. Here are some ideas:
- Investing in a robust social media scheduler, tracker, inbox, listening, Facebook ad reporting software like Agora Pulse (click the link for two free months)
- Learning to adjust notifications on your phone. This could be taking all notifications off for every app. Including Facebook and Instagram. It could mean putting it on Do Not Disturb certain times a day. Pausing your email inbox. Creating ring tones for the public vs your contacts or VIPS in your life.
- Using apps like Itunes to feed your brain while driving or walking. Or apps like Audible or Brain.fm when you want to learn or get in the zone.
- Charging credit cards only once a week, therefore, cutting down on the time you need to reconcile your books or chase after payments.
The Dark Social
A LOT of selling is going to start happening in what we call dark social. It is all the places where the communication feels private and like the whole world can’t see what you are talking about. This is in the personal DMs, it is Chat Bots, it is Facebook Groups, Stories, and more “private” places on the web. I say that with quotes because simply put, anyone can screenshot anything these days – but this false sense of privacy allows brands to become more personal and approachable.
I have seen this work in the pet industry. I know a lot of sitters who text their clients. It is happening through their pet sitting software, through the phones, What’s App, and sometimes their business pages.
I also see sitters creating Facebook groups for their communities and the ones that are killing it are when it isn’t about their company and about their community. In fact, I fly around the world talking about how to build communities online. Did you know that? Follow me on Bella Vasta to see that stuff in my Instagram stories.
If you want to learn more about it, Jessika Phillips who hosts Social Media Week Lima in Ohio every year is a great person to learn about this topic on Dark Social and what to expect.
Mindset Is Going To Sink or Swim Many Businesses In 2020
I feel like my prediction that there would be a lot more buying and selling of businesses this year came true. I know a lot of people who sold this year. Now that it has started, I feel like others are wondering or starting to think about selling their own but about to get a rude awakening. They are going to realize that their business ISN’T worth as much as they thought and their mindset needs to shift.
That is the hard truth. Love me or hate me for saying it.
You see, whether you think you want to sell your business today or in a few years from now – you need to shift that mindset that the business isn’t a part of you. It is a separate entity from YOU and you need to build it that way.
Years ago, the best thing I ever did was to read this book The E-Myth Mastery. After reading it, I started building a business worth buying. I did was successful and then sold my business for top dollar in two weeks. No joke.
We are actually starting a book club: The E-Myth Mastery in January and you’re welcome to join us if you want to understand just why many small businesses don’t work and how to build a business or value that someone would want to buy one day.
Back to mindset…
If you are a business owner, you need to work on your mindset every single day. Being a business owner means that you need to be a visionary. It means that you need to always be looking up… positive, and see what is ahead.
If you feel buried, stressed, overwhelmed, we NEED to get you out of that. It is no way to live or build a business.
If you can’t wrap your head around the fact that you are the visionary you won’t grow. You are the leader. You are the one who has to solve all the problems (and the key is to not be solving the same problem over and over again) and make the decisions, the speed at which business is rising, or will eat you alive.
Allow me to explain.
If you don’t make decisions – that leads to anxiety.
If you don’t feel like you are growing personally or professionally – that typically leads to depression.
If you don’t show your community that you are a leader…
If you don’t show potential hires that you are a leader…
If you don’t show your clients and your staff that you are a leader…
They will be distracted by the next shiny object and the loyalty will be out the window.
In 2020 I predict that enough pet business owners are going to say enough is enough and they are going to do what they need to rise above it all.
They will seek out:
- Self Development
- Invest in people and processes to help.
- They will create a vision and achieve it.
These are the elements that help all business owners. No matter what industry you are in. I get to see this success happen every day in the Mastermind where we provide our members with all of this.
I want you to really think about why you are doing this. This might be tough for someone you to hear but if you are doing it only for the pets … and haven’t gotten anywhere in the past few years – (still have the same problems in your head, challenges in your business) – it just might be time for you to sell to someone who is ready to take it to the next level.
I know you didn’t start this business to be buried or in bondage. Please think about your WHY –
Maybe it might be better to just go work for someone else? That isn’t giving up but giving in to what will bring joy and happiness to your life. It is saying yes to yourself and taking control of your life. I hate to admit it but there are some people I see in the Facebook Groups who really have no business having a business mostly because their mindset has stalled out years ago.
As a coach, I can typically tell who will be successful within the first 15 minutes of talking to them. They have different lingo about them. They talk and think successful. They look towards the future. They see problems as challenges and failures as lessons. They don’t discourage easily and they are always learning and growing. They are the epitome of the person who knows that the windshield is larger than the rear view mirror.
How someone takes on problems, challenges, and how many times they are solving the same problem over and over again will have a direct correlation whether they are successful or not.
What Are Your Predictions?
So I want to hear back from you! In the comments below tell me about the trends you have been seeing. Or the struggles you have been reading about. What do you think is going to change in the next year (or even decade?). I would love to know your predictions. These are my best guesses based off what I hear from all of you around the world. But that doesn’t mean it is the gospel. Do you agree? Disagree? Have other ideas? Let me know below, ok?
Nowadays with all the automation that we can incorporate in business, it’s becoming more and more necessary to prove that we are human. Especially when it comes to the internet and consistent technological advances.
How do we remain human in a fast-paced technological world?
The answer isn’t as simple as we would think. Remaining human has a lot to do with identifying who we are, what we represent, and what we want our clients to see. Then it’s about transferring that human quality not only in face to face contact but through our social media as well.
Thankfully, Bryan Kramer, the founder of the H2H movement as well as Keynote Speaker, TED Talk Speaker, Coach, and CEO of H2H Companies, a Business Performance Coaching Company, was able to teach us more about human to human interactions and how you can build trust in your pet business on social media.
Your Why and Your Purpose
In order to present yourself as trustworthy on social media, you first need to know yourself.
What is your why?
What is your purpose?
Your purpose is made up of three equal parts.
The key to a sound purpose is the equality of these three parts. Too much of one thing will cause your purpose to be unclear and unattainable. All three of these are reliant on your ability to balance them and pursue them.
Understanding your why and your purpose will not only give you a foundation for the values of your business but it will also help you to identify how you want your business to be portrayed to the public. When portraying your business it’s important to stay real to who you are. Especially, when it comes to technology.
It is all too easy to lose our human traits when representing ourselves through a screen rather than in person.
So, how do we remain human in a fast-paced technological world?
Identify and live out your why and your purpose.
How We Share in Person Vs. Social Media
Social media is the face of your business.
What kind of stories are you telling?
What kind of stories are you hiding?
Is your social media consistent with the same emotion or does it vary and expand beyond what others are doing?
Do you want to blend in or stand out?
Trust me when I say, you do not want to blend in.
In order to stand out, you have to come across as human on social media, very similar to how you would portray yourself in person.
In-person we are multi-dimensional. We share all of our different emotions whether that’s happy, sad, angry, anything in between. You’ll be able to read those emotions in our tone of voice, facial expression, body language, and obviously with our words.
On social media, we tend to lean on one emotion and only portray that emotion, all. the. time. The issue with that is that it’s not actually who we are. We aren’t always happy and excitable.
Say, if you’re on social media and all of your posts have dozens of exclamation points because you want to make your viewers excited. That’s great, but if your page is full of excitement, it looks very fake. That is not who you are.
Show your emotions and let your personality shine.
Divide your social media into thirds. Share one third about you, one third about other people and one third of educational content and news.
Identifying Your Unique Traits
To marry your passion and your brand, you’ll need to identify what makes you unique.
Everyone shares in their own way and it’s extremely important to identify what category of sharer each person in your company is. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you’re making the ask of the right person.
The six categories of sharers, outlined by Bryan are:
- The Altruist– Altruists are individuals who are highly recognized for their commitment to helping others. These are people who not only dedicate themselves in terms of actions, but also with regard to being mindful with their personal relationships.
- Early Adopter- The early adopter branding refers to a recognized subculture of progressive individuals who embrace individuality above all else. Although the term has existed since the Jazz age, modern early adopters are often associated with being the first to try new things and share them with others.
- Connector– Connectors are people who pride themselves on their ability to bring people together. These are usually the individuals who are well connected and openly use their network to unite. Typically creative, they obtain validation and satisfaction through others.
- Careerist- Careerists are people who are have shown a preference for professional advancement above all other personal achievements. More often associated with business-related networks.
- Boomerang- The boomerang brand type refers to people whose brand is closely identified with controversy. In many cases, they do not necessarily agree with the content-choosing to pass on the information for the potential of being seen as provocative.
- Selective- The selective is a person that shares information with specific people. They usually carefully curate information based on the general needs and interests of the target audience. They value exclusivity and are largely viewed as being informative and resourceful.
Find out what category of sharer you are by clicking on the picture below and taking Bryan’s quick quiz!
Keep in mind, you may change from day to day as the type that you takes into account how you are feeling when you take it.
Once you and your employees take the quiz, compare and see how you all work together!
Body Language and First Impression
First impressions are critical in our business. Doing our first meet and greet with the client is really the only chance we will have to interact with them and show them who we are.
Oftentimes on these first meetings, we are missing intimacy. We are so busy going through the facts of our business and their pets that we miss making a connection with them.
Bryan describes intimacy as into-me-you-see. It’s the passage of looking past the exterior and the facts and learning more about someone. It’s extremely important for us to build that connection with our clients. We are not just providing a job, we are serving their precious pet, their family member.
In order to be more intimate with our clients, we need to make more agreements with them.
To do so, we start by asking questions about their pets and what they’re looking for from us. Get to know the different lives of each animal to be able to better serve them specifically. Not every client and every pet are going to be cookie-cutter and that’s why it’s so important to treat them as unique as they are.
An agreement can be made around anything and will look different for everyone. To get started making an agreement, you simply have to bring something up transparently and ask them to agree. The thing is, the other person doesn’t have to agree to your terms and may come back with a counteroffer.
Over time, agreements make a relationship strong. You’re learning how to communicate with each other and ensure your interactions are a two-way street.
We are human, talking to a human.
Trust and Delegation
It’s not easy being everywhere at once. As the business owner, it’s almost impossible for you to be at every single meet and greet. You need to trust yourself, your staff and your ability to lead them.
You need to delegate.
Bryan recommends practicing making agreements with your staff.
Sit them down for a team meeting and explain to them why making agreements with clients is so important to your business. Give them the opportunity to practice making agreements with another team member and finalize the meeting with a group debrief/discussion.
As a bigger group, discuss what happened, what they got from it, what they discovered and grow from there.
Keeping yourself relevant and building trust in your pet business on social media is as simple as keeping yourself you. Identify what makes you unique, what is your purpose, and your why. Then identify different ways you can use your team in order to reflect you and your business in everything they do.
If you want to learn more about human to human interaction and how to use it to make your business thrive. Join Bryan Kramer on his H2H Marketing & Leadership Hub Facebook group.
Just click the image below!
Its that time of the year again when everything turns into all holidays, all the time. The time when every store is confused about what to celebrate first with multiple isles of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the MASSIVE Christmas section.
I think we can all admit that September through December, Holiday preparation takes over.
What’s wrong with that, right?
Except if you are hiring. Dealing with the stress of hiring during the holidays is intense.
Here are my Tips and Mindset Shifts Needed to Hire During the Holidays
- Embrace the process
- Have a Fast System
- Go Where Your Avatar Hangs Out
- Always be Hiring
Embrace the Process
There’s nothing more important than taking over your mindset and truly embracing the hard stuff. In order to be successful in hiring for your pet business during the holidays, it’s going to be necessary to first ensure your thoughts are where they should be.
Are you thinking about how awful it is?
Or are you thinking about how you’re going to completely rock out hiring and get amazing new staff?
Embrace people looking for seasonal help.
Keep in mind, your business will become very busy during this time of the year. From family vacations to people maybe not wanting to walk their dogs in the snow, holidays can be great for business.
You’ve heard me talk about the importance of streamlining your social media process and with the same importance, you also need to streamline your hiring process.
Everyone’s busy and no one has time to wait around for a two or three-week hiring process. They want to jump in with a four to five day hiring process. Trust me, it’s true!
Not only is this beneficial to the applicant but it’s faster for you to get through more applicants at a time. At the end of the day, being quick will make you look better to the applicant because it appears that you are engaged and serious about hiring.
The easiest way to do this is by using hiring software, like JazzHR, that will allow you to automate and add in hiring phases. Recently, one of the Mastermind group members tested out the new JazzHR text option, where you can text applicants from the software.
Here’s what she had to say:
A fast system doesn’t just mean creating a quick work flow through applicants, it also means setting up your system in a way where you’re able to quickly find each applicant, where they are at in the hiring phases, and how they responded to each phase. I like having about three to five different phases for the applicant.
In the first phase, I will ask them questions to get to know their character. For each question, I score them from one to five.
In the end, I’ll add up their total points and if they meet the score I decided ahead of time that they needed to meet, then I will move them on to the next phase.
I’ll always recommend that at least one of these preliminary phases either be through knock out questions or a video recorded by the applicant.
This gives you the opportunity to weed out people further based on an actual interaction or, for video, their comfort level in getting out there and doing something out of the ordinary.
Delegation is one of the most underrated methods of self-care. The simple act of allowing others to do the work that you don’t need to do yourself takes some stress off your plate and frees up your schedule to focus on more important things.
If you have phases with scoring involved, delegating the task of hiring can be super easy. All you need to do is ensure that the person in charge of hiring knows what you’re looking for and what your ideal applicant looks like. Make it a mathematical equasion.
Before the final meeting phase, you can review the applicants and schedule them for an in-person interview with yourself. That way, you saved a bunch of time not reviewing all of their answers and you’re ultimately still the person in charge of if they work at your business or not.
Go Where Your Avatar Hangs Out
In order to properly set up your hiring process, you need to know who your ideal applicant is. For the holidays, it can be anyone from a snowbird traveling south for the winter or a college student home for the holidays that are looking to pick up some extra cash. I actually did a free 3 hour clas on this that you can take called Jump and Scale.
If you’re open to the idea of temporary workers, make sure that’s known in your hiring posting and advertise directly to that audience.
Imagine this: “Are you home for the holidays and looking to earn some extra Christmas money while loving on pets? This job may be the perfect one for you!”
I actually liked temporary applicants when I had my business becasue they were typically avaialble during the times when my pet sitting company had in influx of clients like the holidays, school vacations, and the summer.
Once you identify your ideal applicant, figure out where they would spend their time. Are they people who would hang out in your local coffee shop in the middle of the day? Maybe people attending pet holiday parties?
Figure out where they are and attract them.
Always Be Hiring
Do you hire for the Holidays or hire for long term employment?
The answer is simple.
Don’t limit yourself by looking for employees that are only going to be long term if you’re able to staff for your Holiday rush.
Always be hiring. It’s the best opportunity for your company to ensure there are always going to be enough staff. I like to say to have more staff than what you need. I know the next thing you are thinking is “But what if I don’t have work for them?” and I would say that isn’t your problem. Be honest with them about where you are at, why you are attracted to them, and opportunities for them to help you market for new clients while we wait for their route to build up.
Hiring Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful
Hiring doesn’t have to be a stressful event where you burn yourself out keeping track of every applicant at different stages in the hiring process. You do not have to waste your time searching through resume after resume and doing endless amounts of interviews that just don’t match up with your company culture.
Embrace the idea of hiring for your pet business during the holidays, streamline your hiring process, make the system fast and apply phases, delegate the task of sorting through applicants, go where your avatar hangs out and always be hiring.
Interested in learning more about JazzHR?
Check out my post Secrets to Success on JazzHR vs. Indeed for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers.
You can also get started with JazzHR here.
One of the best ways to gain exposure to your pet sitting or dog walking company is to host or participate in a holiday pet event. But oftentimes we have no idea what to do, where to do it, or just feel like it takes way too much energy. When I used to have my company, Bella’s House & Pet Sitting for 14 years, I would participate and host many events.
These events became known in the community and offered me a lot of exposure and reason to walk up to people and talk about my company in a nonsleezy way. The events were successful and through lots of trial and error, I got them running smoothly. We had all sorts of prizes, giveaways, even a celebrity photographer at one event taking pictures of people and their pets. We had alcohol sponsors, rescue groups getting piles of money, and signs prominently hung outside of businesses with my logo on them.
The holidays are the ideal opportunity to host events and I am going to show you just some of the magic that you can create in your hometown area.
Here are 5 Holiday Pet Events you can host in your town:
- Yappy Hour
- Mutt and Mingle
- Dog Walking Club
- Dog Hiking Club
- Santa Paws
Yappy Hour/ Mutt and Mingle
Host the happiest of happy hour events with Yappy Hour or Mutt and Mingle. It’s a lot of fun to go to the local bar with your dog and especially for a holiday pet event. It can be an indoor or outdoor event. This is a great way to get your community together with their pups and strike up conversations about your business.
All you have to do is:
- Find a local bar or venue to host the event
- Get a liquor sponsor through the venue (they always have some)
- Designate a photographer
- You could either hire one for a couple of hours or have someone assigned to take pictures on their phone.
- Chat it up with all the attendees!
To take it a step further, you can add cute decorations like dog treats in shot glasses and host a raffle or giveaway.
Dog Walking Club
This great event doesn’t have to be just a holiday pet event, but can be a year-round, once a month event.
Here is how it works: Humans and their dogs walk all together in a pack, creating a community where you can get your brand out there to relevant people. Often times it is a one or two-mile loop.
The dog walking would typically work best in a subdivision or where there are a lot of apartment complexes, anywhere where you could walk a big circle. You may even be able to do a mile loop where you “pick up” and “drop off” people along the way.
The biggest advantage is all the advertising that comes with it at each apartment complex once they agree to it.
Dog Hiking Club
Are you a little more of an “off the beaten path” type of person? If so, a dog hiking club may be a better fit for you and your community than a typical walk around the neighborhood.
To do this, it would be very similar to starting a walking club but you would want to find hiking trails best suited for large packs and pups of all breed and ages.
If you have already created a blog with the best dog walking trails in your area, you might want to start with that. Consider reaching out to hiking clubs and see if they wanted to partner with you on an event with a twist… with the dogs!
Dog Park Date
Create a holiday pet event within the community you’ve already established and invite your clients to the dog park for a date!
With this event, it’s up to you to be creative on what the event will entail.
Will you host a raffle?
Will there be a flyball or find the treat contest?
This event is perfect to meet new people.
In doing so, you’ll be reaching out to the happy hour crowd who already goes to the dog park but now you’ll be able to get your name out there. While there, you may even meet people outside of your clientele.
The classic Christmas celebration, taking a picture with Santa. No matter what you celebrate typically this type of holiday pet event attracts all types of people.
Host the event yourself by:
- Partnering up with a local Pet Store
- Get a trainer to dress up as Santa
- Hire a Photographer or do it yourself
- Order a Christmas backdrop off Amazon
- Make the pictures available on your Facebook page
- Invite everyone you know!
The Main Idea of Pet Events
The main idea of these pet events is to bring more exposure to your brand. You have to remember that not everyone is going to be ready to buy your services immediately, but getting to know you and what you stand for will make you memorable when they do need your services or even their friends.
Also, remember that these events are not about how many people show up to the event but all that you get to do to attract them to the event. All the promotions, fliers hung in the elevators or put in the pet store bags. All of this helps to ensure that your community gets to know your brand in a fun way that you are giving back and celebrating their bond with their pets!
A lot of growing up has revolved around knowing your worth and the value of yourself. But, what about knowing the worth of your business? Or how the way you perceive your worth and value affects the way your potential clients see your business?
Many times, we don’t recognize how smart we are and therefore, we are not charging what we are worth.
Knowing your worth and the value of your services directly impacts how potential clients see your business in a HUGE way. How do you begin to understand the worth of yourself and your business?
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Angus Nelson, the Director of Development for Golden Spiral Marketing, as well as, the host of the “Up In Your Business” podcast and has spoken for brands like Walmart, Whole Foods, BMW, Coke, & Adobe.
Angus dove deep into what makes up your worth as a business and how you can continue to grow and expand that worth.
What Your Thoughts Say About Your Business
Your business is just that, It’s YOUR business. You dreamed it up, you learned, you made a plan, you put that plan into action, you put endless amounts of time and money investing into it, you’re the one responsible for the day to day management, for the growth and evidently, for the success of your business.
Your business is a direct reflection of YOU and the work that YOU put into it.
So what do your thoughts say about your business? How does knowing your worth and value affect your business?
Statement of Worth
Our entire world is based on the exchange of value. We identify the worth of a service/product based on the value of that service/product. Thus, a consumer will put a worth on our business but for them to gather that worth we must first present them with the value. And so many times we don’t charge what we’re worth!
We don’t charge the full worth of the value of our product!
Because somewhere inside of us there is a belief that our service/product is not worth a higher value. This is a lie.
This is a lie that we are subconsciously projecting onto our potential clients. If we don’t understand our own complexities then we subconsciously project that negativity and self doubt to our clients.
We are giving them the arsenal they need to reject us.
What Are You Exchanging?
Are you exchanging time for money? Or are you exchanging value for money?
So many times I will see dog walkers who say “I’ll take your dog on a 20 minute walk for $20”. So, 20 minutes for $20, an exact exchange of time for money. Except, that’s not what we want! We aren’t exchanging the amount of time spent with a client for money. We are exchanging the value of our time.
Not sure what this looks like? Take a look at how I break it down here.
It may only take 20 minutes to complete a task but is that 20 minutes of our time only worth $20? What if we spent years learning how to do that task in only 20 minutes? Wouldn’t that make the value of our time go up?
Our clients are not paying us for time, they’re paying us for our experiences, for what we know, for what we offer.
They’re paying us for our worth!
Brand Phrasing & Worth
Knowing your worth is the first step in presenting the proper value to your clients. However, knowing your worth and presenting your worth may not be the same thing. Just because you know your worth does not mean its clear to your clients.
To make it clear, you need to focus on your brand phrasing. Are you saying things such as, “We’re the best!” or are you saying “Do you ever worry about who is taking care of your fur baby?”
Are you speaking to the pain of your clients?
Phrasing your brand in a way that pulls on the emotions of your clients will show how much you are worth. Saying “We’re the best!” should be a given in the way you carry yourself and your business. What you really need to focus on is how you’re reaching your clients on a level that means the most to them.
Think in the context of the client.
Rejecting Customers That Don’t See Our Worth
It’s never easy to reject a customer. Especially when you’re trying to grow your business. But what happens when we don’t reject customers that don’t see our worth?
It’s simple really:
- You decrease your premiums
- You decrease what you’re willing to settle for
- You decrease positioning
Overall, You decrease the value of your business. In addition, you’ve labeled yourself as someone who CAN and WILL handle headaches!
Consistency in Your Business
In order to compete with businesses like Wag! or Rover, we have to back up our value with our worth! We have to remain consistent within our business rather that’s through amazing customer service, email newsletters, blogs or even the factors that make us unique.
We have to treat our business and clients like the boyfriend or girlfriend we just meant. The person we bend over backward for because it’s so new and romantic.
Go above and beyond for your clients!
Hand out dog treats on visits, or send out a newsletter with helpful information regarding their pets. At the end of the day, their pets are the client you are serving. Show them the energy you bring to your job. Send them pictures, update your social presence with actual clients. Reach the client at their level, human or pet.
Showing consistency is a way of creating history within your business. If you post on social media pictures of the pets you take care of, eventually, there will be a ton of posts showing ALL of the pets you’ve taken care of!
If you haven’t heard of them yet, look into Snapchat Glasses. They are actual glasses that you wear that will allow you to film both of your hands from your point of view. They’re a great tool in showing clients exactly what you do and what a day in the life is like for you and their pet.
Most of all, remain consistent! Don’t bend over backward for one client when you wouldn’t do the same for another. Always represent your brand in the same way to everyone.
To know your worth, it’s best broken down as an acronym.
W- Who is your ideal client?
O- What opportunities are you presenting?
R- What is your relationship with clients?
T- How are you thinking in regards to the business?
H- Where is your heart?
You’ll need to describe your ideal client and stick to that! Focus on that client and work to make your business strategies reflect that. Then, identify what opportunities you present that makes your business unique. What do you bring to the table that really sets you apart from others?
Thirdly, you’ll want to form a good relationship with your clients and do your best to have that same relationship with all your clients. Fourth, really hone in on how you are thinking in regards to your business. Do you have positive thoughts of growth and success? Or are you thinking negatively, that you won’t succeed or that it’s overwhelming?
Finally, the most important, where is your heart? Is your heart in your business or are you in this business because you feel like you need to be?
I challenge you to answer these questions and really think about them. It’s okay to have answers you don’t like, what matters is that you’ve created a foundation, a starting point, to really broadcast and grow your business’s worth.
Your Community Will Create Your Character
Since marketing was invented, the need for graphic design has been ever-growing. However, graphics aren’t used to simply sell your business like they’ve been used in the past, instead, they represent your business.
Graphics are the foundation of your brand.
They not only represent how you present your company but also whether or not potential clients feel a connection with your company, whether your company can be taken seriously to not only clients but possible employees.
Today, I partnered up with Annette Mcdonald, the founder of Easil, an online DIY Graphic Design solution for brands and teams, as well as, MD of Copirite, a leading design, print & digital agency located on the Gold Coast, to teach you a little on what it entails to have Good vs. Bad Graphics.
The Importance of How You Portray Your Business
In order to grow your business, it is so important to create a quality design that can live in many different elements. Whether you using graphics for print, on the web, or for social, the most important thing you can do to create a quality design is making sure your graphics are consistent.
While your voice and style may change amongst the platforms, your brand style needs to remain the same. The best way to manage your brand style is through a Brand Style Guide and a Brand Voice Guide.
Brand Style Guide
Your Brand Style Guide is a guide to remain consistent about how you want things to appear in relation to your business.
- Brand Colors
- Selection of Imagery
- Explanation of How You Use All of the Above
Your brand colors should be 3 or 4 colors that you want to represent your brand. Now, it’s important that you don’t just say “pink and blue” this is where you have to be specific. A pink and blue hue can show up differently in different programs, on different mediums and all together can range from light to dark.
You’ll want to get the exact number from your color wheel and document it in your Brand Style Guide.
The fonts included should be two or three fonts you’ll use to represent the personality of your business.
Selection of Imagery
Your selection of imagery will be ever-changing but should include things like a variety of headshots you’ll use, or different images you want to be the face of your business.
I’m sure you know you need a logo for your business but it’s actually a good idea to have a couple of logos drafted up so when making your graphics, you’ll have the perfect logo for all mediums.
How You Use All of the Above
In this section, you’ll want to explain how you use all the other items on your Brand Style Guide. Whether that’s where you position your logos, what colors you like to pair together, when to use a certain font, or any other details that you deem important for creating connections through your graphics.
Your voice guide should show off the voice of your personality. Are you light-hearted or are you serious? Do you say puuurfect or perfect?
All of the simple things that design your company.
Evoking Emotions through Graphics
The way your graphics present to the viewer can evoke so many emotions. Like when you saw the adorable sleeping kitten, you probably felt a small connection to how sweet, simple and cute it is!
When it comes to evoking emotion, you want to make the viewer feel a human connection with your company. For our industry, you’ll want to come off as caring and compassionate in all interactions. Always associate your business with natural emotions.
Everyone uses pet images to promote that human connection because everyone loves going on social media and commenting on pets.
Play the cards you were dealt and use all the animal-loving to your advantage!
The Effects of Bad Graphics
When it comes to creating the best graphics that resonate the most with viewers, less is more.
Keep your graphics clear and concise. There is nothing worse than trying to jam-pack your graphic with every element possible.
You know how you feel when you go to work and your desk is cluttered with papers, pens, sticky notes, anything and everything that could be in your way? That uncomfortable feeling, sometimes even anxiety-inducing feeling, is exactly how it feels to look at a graphic will too much going on.
Take Apple, for example, their design is as simple as it gets yet it evokes so many emotions! When you see Apple, you see the company leading the industry, you may even have a sigh of relief knowing everything will be made simple.
Sometimes we will only remember how something makes us feel rather than what was said.
The 7 Deadly DIY Design Sins
If you’re struggling to put these concepts into practice, Annette’s article, the 7 Deadly DIY Design Sins, is a great way to further your knowledge on what will make or break your graphics.
Annette and Better Marketing with Bella
Have you loved learning from Annette’s 20 years of graphic and design experience? But are you left feeling like there is just no way you can add creating graphics to your daily tasks?
We’ve got news!
Better Marketing with Bella is stepping up our graphic game for 2020 by partnering up with Annette as our graphic designer! Join us for a six-month contract to get all the graphics, captions, square videos, cover videos, vertical videos, blog/video outlines, emails, individual and group coaching calls, and more.
Corresponding your graphics from social, to print, to the web, is necessary for growing your business and becoming recognized and trusted in your community. You’ll need to create a brand style guide and a voice style guide to really lay the foundation of how you want to be perceived by the public.
So much of your business is portrayed through your graphics, they need to be top-notch.
You want people to recognize your company in your graphics immediately from your use of consistent brand identifiers and be able to feel your compassion and love for your work through your images.
Today, I am going to explain to five strategies to show up on social media when you just feel like you don’t have the time.
Let’s face it, I’ve never, ever had anyone come to me and say…
“Oh, I have all this time, and I need to do something.”
These tips are going to be quick and dirty because I know how busy you are.
5 Strategies To Show Up On Social Media
Here they are:
- Find time for things that are important
- Recycle your posts
- Schedule time in your calendar
- Use scheduling software
- Hire someone for the creative and the strategy
Let’s go over these in a little more depth!
1. Find Time For Things That Are Important
If you really want to do something, you’re going to find the time. So let’s just acknowledge that first.
So, if we’re not finding the time, what is the reason why we’re not finding the time?
Do we not really want to do it? Do we not really see the value in what social media can do? And, what are you doing where you could easily be recording?
After you get off the phone, you could write a post.
You could say…
“I just got off the phone with this brand new cat client. She usually never has a pet sitter, but her grandmother passed away and she needs to fly. And, the only thing she’s really concerned about is with her cat. So, we were able to help her by doing x, y and z.”
What I’m saying is, tip number one is to find the time, seize the moment, and figure out the different things that are going on in your life right now that you actually could leverage.
2. Recycle or Up Cycle Your Posts
The second tip is to recycle your posts.
You have all this amazing effort and energy that you’ve done. Why waste it?
It’s very easy to go into the insights of your Facebook page. And, the charts there will show you what’s performed well.
You can go back to those posts and reshare them or copy and paste them to schedule the post again.
Your insights will show you what your community is actually reacting to.
3. Schedule Time In Your Calendar
Schedule time in your schedule like you would have pets.
I know that many of you would never actually miss out on a dog walk.
Let’s make social media a priority.
That can be 10 or 15 minutes a day, every other day, once a week, something, but if you aren’t scheduling it in like something that you absolutely need to do, it’s going to be really hard to show up on social media when you feel like you don’t have any of the time.
4. Use Social Media Scheduling Software
Number four is to use scheduling software.
There are software programs like:
- Meet Edgar
- Agora Pulse
The one that I really love is Agora Pulse because it is like the Lamborghini of social sharing.
One of the best features is social listening, which means anytime anyone says your name, your company’s name, or maybe your area and name, you get an alert for in your Agora Pulse.
Now, I do not suggest that you actually allow Agora pulse to give you notifications in your email, because that can get a little overwhelming.
Sometimes, people say I don’t want to use scheduling software, because it won’t show up on social media. And, that just is not the case.
I have scientific evidence that shows that posting from a third party platform does not actually make it not get seen. I think there was a time like two years ago when that happened, but not now.
If it makes you feel better, you can use Facebook’s native scheduler.
While you can automate the scheduling, you cannot automate engagement. You really do want to just check-in and try to talk with people.
5. Hire Someone For The Creative And The Strategy
Now, the fifth and the very last one is going to be to hire someone for the creative and the strategy.
This is a more expensive option, but it ensures that the job gets done.
You can create the graphics and then let the other person schedule them. Sometimes the problem with this is that they don’t know when to post it or what to say.
To recap, here are the five strategies to show up on social media we discussed:
- Find time for things that are important
- Recycle your posts
- Schedule time in your calendar
- Use scheduling software
- Hire someone for the creative and the strategy
But how do you actually come up with the stuff, right? How do you come up with ideas when your brain is just like wants to explode?
- So much stuff going on
- So many different projects
- Clients calling
- Employees asking you questions
- Your kid tugging on you
- Your husband or wife wondering what’s for dinner tonight,
- To pick up the kid pick up from school
So the last thing that most of us as business owners have is the ability and the time to be creative.
This is where Better Marketing With Bella comes in.
We only open up the doors twice a year and it’s coming up.
Here’s our process for new people joining:
- People already in the program have the option to join again
- We ask our waitlist if they’re interested
- We open the program up to the public
See you inside the program!
My social media process is always evolving and it has come a long way.
I am constantly evaluating what is working, what isn’t, and where I can streamline my system or create processes. This is necessary for any business owner who is on social media.
Depending on the talent you have working for you, the depth of the process, and the ever-changing algorithms, things that worked last year probably won’t work this year.
I’m sharing how my process has evolved, along with how some other leading social media ladies streamline their processes. You are going to see many different ways to do this, proving there’s no one right way.
It’s important to figure out what works best for you!
How Streamlining My Social Media Has Evolved
In the early days, I was publishing two blogs a week. I simply started answering all of your questions and followed the Big 5 Formula for the most important keywords that I wanted to rank for.
In the Beginning
I’d meet with my local virtual assistant at the time and tell her the topics I wanted to write along with a verbal outline that she typed out. I would talk about the points with her and then she’d massage them out.
To complete it, she’d follow my instructions on SEO — which was basically to get the Yoast plugin all green, add pictures, and schedule it to post.
As things evolved, I backed off to one blog a week, then two a month.
We answered so many questions and published about 300 blog posts together but I felt like I needed to take the foot off the gas. I felt like we were reactively producing content instead of strategically.
During this time, my friend Mike Alton published this awesome article, “How To Create 26 Pieces of Content From a Facebook Live”. I instantly created a spreadsheet because I wanted to do all the things but quickly realized that it would be tough to delegate.
Instead, I selected some of the things and focused on those.
What Our Social Media Process Looks Like
We created a streamlined process where every blog had a list of things that needed to be complete like:
- Featured image
- All images having proper alt tags
- Yoast being all green
- Checking how to show up on social media
- Adding links back to the rest of the website
- Breaking up paragraphs
- Creating the graphics
- And lots of other little things
We also created a process for our Facebook Lives that included things like:
- Get captions from Rev.com
- Create the title and description that will show up on Google
- Trim the beginning of the video if needed
- Boost post after 24-48 hours to certain audiences
It all came down to getting a specific process written out that anyone could follow.
3 Tools That Kelly Noble Mirabella Can’t Live Without to Streamline Her Social Media
There are many ways to streamline processes, so let’s take a look at what Kelly Noble Mirabella, the official trainer for Many Chat, uses as her top three tools to help streamline her social media efforts.
Here’s what Kelly had to say…
As someone who has spent 12 years of her life in social media marketing, I have seen the importance of having a good foundation in processes.
The right processes can save you time, help you be more consistent, and provide better content and services for your followers, prospects, and clients.
I have a lot of tools that I use to help me stay on top of the various activities I am always participating in, but when it comes to social media processes there are 3 main tools I can’t live without:
- Google calendar
Let’s explore these a little more!
1. Google Calendar
As a busy entrepreneur and mother of two young children, I live by the calendar.
If it is not on my calendar it simply does not happen.
In terms of social media processes, I use my Google calendar to schedule out blocks of time where I work on content development and research. This ensures, much like my time at the gym, that I make time to do the task at hand.
I even take it a step further and have calendars and shared calendars for all the pieces of my life.
I create a LOT of content.
From the social media posts that I create for clients, to the YouTube videos, blogs, and social posts I create for myself.
I am ALWAYS creating.
Trello is the perfect place for me to stay organized in my content and ideas. Generally speaking, I use Trello for three main reasons:
- Streamline: I am able to layout ideas and organize those ideas into various content blocks and categories and visually see everything that I have bouncing around in my head. I use Trello for storyboarding for every new client strategy, large scale project launches like courses and new podcast concepts, as well as capturing all my content ideas for future podcast episodes, videos and the like. As a visual person, this process is super important.
- To-Do: I use my Trello board as a todo list for content creation. I will take a content piece from idea to in process to completed and in many chases to posted in my Trello board.
- Collaboration: Trello can be integrated with “Power-Ups” which allow you to add integrations like Asana, Google Calendar, Appear.in, Evernote, and so many more to help you collaborate with clients, teams, or other businesses.
I use Trello to collaborate with Bella about a podcast idea we have been considering. It is a great way to have everyone stay organized and on the same page.
AgoraPulse is my secret weapon in tackling my social media and coming off as a total rockstar. In fact, if I could only choose one tool out of the three mentioned, AgoraPulse would be the one I keep.
Most people know of AgoraPulse as a social media content scheduling tool, but it is SO much more.
Under the obvious uses of AgoraPulse lies even greater tools to help you stay organized and running like a well-oiled machine.
While social media scheduling helps me effectively batch and manage my social media content, and the brand monitoring lets me stay up on when people are talking about me online, and the reports keep me on track, it is the inbox zero that I love the most.
Inbox zero is basically an inbox for each of your social channels that includes a section for your Private messages that are coming in, as well as mentions and comments you can respond to.
All in one handy place.
I am able to jump in, answer questions, give great customer service and impress the pants off of people in WAY less time than I was able to before I discovered the wonders of AgoraPulse.
As a YouTube creator, this has been an invaluable tool as YouTube does not make it easy to track comments and replies to my videos. The other day I was able to go in and knock out 15 comments in 5 minutes thanks to AgoraPulse.
The important thing is when you are trying to manage your business, your clients, and social media you need good processes. Otherwise, you are like a clown juggling too many balls…One is bound to fall.
Here is How Jen Cole From Depict Media Streamlines Their Clients Social Media
Jen Cole is the co-owner of Depict Media, a company that helps businesses with their social media management.
Jen thought the most important programs are:
- Google Drive
Here’s what Jen had to say about these…
1. Google Drive
After meeting with the client and understanding their who, what, when, where, and why, we are then able to develop a content plan, which we usually do via shared Google Drive.
This way, the client has immediate access to everything that is being planned for them, and they can include any edits/comments that they have in the process.
(Side note, this is how we deliver Better Marketing with Bella, too!)
When it comes to event imagery, we appreciate the ease and consistency of Canva.
This tool is amazing because it allows us to nail down and keep a recognizable, branded aesthetic for the entire strategy. We’re specifically enjoying the new animated files that Canva has available. They add that little bit of eye-catching personality and let’s face it, video content is very hot!
After batch-creating images/creative files for our clients, we then work on captioning each piece.
These captions are kept on a shared Google Doc, where clients can see the image/file that we are planning to use with the corresponding caption. This allows them to give feedback/approve content before we put it into our scheduling tool, AgoraPulse.
AgoraPulse is wonderful for scheduling content because you can create hashtag lists to attach to Instagram posts, you can edit posts before they go out, you get a clear preview of what the post will look like once it’s posted on your social channels, and it’s quite frankly user-friendly.
We create/schedule posts a week at a time for our clients.
After we put everything into Agorapulse to be scheduled, we also time block daily monitoring times to stay on top of questions, comments, and messages that are left on each social media channel.
We are able to monitor and respond to all of these things from within the AgoraPulse tool, which really helps simplify the entire process.
Having a solid system in place truly helps to make it all happen the right way!
How A Processes Expert Streamlines Her Social Media Efforts
Liz Illg is a system and process expert who has helped a dozen pet sitters get their business on paper just this summer alone.
She is a ninja when it comes to this stuff and here is what Liz had to say about the best way to streamline social media processes…
In today’s digital world, having a social media presence is not something you should do…it’s something every business needs.
Of course, with so many platforms to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming!
The key is knowing how to streamline your social media efforts so that you can focus on the bigger picture items for your business. Building out a process for creating content of your own will have a huge impact on your overall business.
Below are some helpful tips and tricks to get started:
- Create a content calendar
- Implement themes
- Use scheduling applications
And make sure to have fun with it!
1. Create a Content Calendar
I know what you’re thinking — who has the time to create a content calendar when I’m just trying to keep track of what day it is!?
However, creating a content calendar doesn’t have to be difficult; while it will take some time initially, it’ll totally be worth it!
The key is to decide how you’ll actually create the ‘calendar.’
I suggest using something as simple as a ‘Sheets’ document in Google Drive.
Then, figure out where you plan to post your content:
- Will this content be posted on a blog?
- Across various social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook?
- Will you be posting photos on Instagram?
Knowing this in advance will save tons of time and effort!
Next, it’s time to actually FILL that calendar!
This is where the next tip comes in…
2. Implement Themes
Having themed content will help you to not only stay on track, but it’ll further engage your audience as well.
For example, if you own a pet business and it’s National Pet Safety Month, then create blog topics and posts relating to that. Of course, there are tons of other topics to post about.
You can share an industry statistic that your audience would be interested in learning about. Or post about what inspired you to start your business!
Highlight members of your team, promote an upcoming new product or service, and share photos of your workspace! People are often curious about how people set up their workspaces.
You can also post important tidbits from your company’s mission statement and core values.
3. Use Scheduling Applications
One of the easiest ways to streamline your social media efforts is to implement scheduling applications to help you out!
Worried you’re going to forget to post every day or simply don’t have the time to do so?
There’s an app for that!
From Hootsuite and Loomly to Buffer, TweetDeck, and more — you can input content ahead of time and schedule specific times and dates you’d like to post!
Scheduling applications are perfect for those who have ideas but keep forgetting to post until it’s so late in the day there’s no point.
Consistency is KEY!
If you’re going to use various social media platforms for your business, you must be consistent about it! From your brand messaging and profile photos to the number of times you post, etc.
There are plenty of factors to consider.
How a Top-Notch Graphics Designer and Software Founder Streamlines Her Process With Templates and Batches
She is the founder of Easil, one of the most incredible design tools out there that almost anyone can do. She is able to produce so much high-quality content that I needed to get the ways that she streamlines.
Here’s what she had to say…
Do you want to say goodbye to the stress of coming up with visual content weekly or daily? Creating effective, creative graphics isn’t just limited to professional graphic designers!
By implementing the following 3 tips into your content planning, you’ll save hours every week:
- Use templates
- Reuse and repurpose
- Batch your visual content creation
Let’s explore these in a little more detail!
1. Use Templates
Get a headstart on creating graphics by using a professionally designed template from a DIY Design Tool.
Using a template that has the foundations in place, and then customizing using your own fonts, colors and images can cut your creative time by half — or more!
As an extra benefit, if you’re design-challenged, your designs will also look more professional than if you started from scratch!
Hot tip: Browse through the template library each month and jot down templates that you like. This way you will have a starting point for the next month when you batch create!
2. Reuse and Repurpose
Maximize your reach by creating and scheduling different versions and sizes of your graphics.
Ensure your primary social network or content requirement is covered first, and then resize your graphics to use on other social media sites.
Keep in mind that square graphics can be used on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. A portrait version can be used for Pinterest, as well as stories on both Instagram and Facebook.
Pinterest loves fresh content, so while you’re in design mode and creating a Pin for your blog — make more than 1 version!
Change up the colors, fonts, and imagery so you have several versions on hand, and then schedule with a tool like Tailwind to plan out the variations to post over time.
Hot tip: With Easil, you can save your designs as Templates to easily reuse over time, or to share with your teammates.
3. Batch Your Visual Content Creation
Most importantly, do both of the above steps in batches!
Put aside some time to learn the ins and outs of your design tool, and take advantage of features that can quickly lift your graphics from basic to scroll-stopping!
On your scheduled visual content creation day, aim to create all the memes, social posts, testimonials, quotes and promotions in one hit. Select suitable templates to apply to your content themes, modify the templates, and apply elements of your brand to them, where applicable.
Hot tip: Store your brand colors, fonts and assets in your DIY Design Tool so you can easily access them. Easil provides Brand Kit functionality that also allows you to share these assets, plus images, with teammates!
Once you have your graphics and content planned ahead for the month, you’ll find that fitting in the odd ad-hoc ‘of the moment’ post will actually be enjoyable!
Processes look different for everyone.
So, hopefully, you have seen that there are many ways to approach social media, but the most important thing IS TO HAVE A SYSTEM.
If you don’t, it just becomes an afterthought and it will not have consistency, good messaging, and visual appeal. It takes strategy and planning.
The good news is that you can batch this so you don’t have to deal with it every day. The only thing you really need to do is engage when people who engage with your posts.
Simple enough, right?
Have The Strategy and Planning Taken Care Of For You!
Another stellar option is to hire someone you trust to produce all of this for you. But it’s important that you look for someone who:
- Uniquely understands your business and this industry
- Understands how fast social media is changing and what is coming with the changes and when
- Knows which types of content perform the best on social media at this current time so your business can benefit
- Knows how to create engaging captions and content and when to post it
This might sound like a tall order and just trying to find the right person and not get burnt can take a long time. You are not a social media expert. You might not have the creativity or brainpower to think of, build, and execute all of this and I totally get it.
That’s why Better Marketing with Bella has taken care of all of this and the doors are closing soon. They won’t open again for another 6 months.
Here is what you could get every single month from January through June 2020:
- Vertical videos
- Square videos
- Cover videos
- IG stories
- FB Stories
- Learning Center
You also receive 4 group zoom coaching sessions and one 1:1 coaching call with Bella ($495 value)
Email marketing is something that a lot of business owners have an adverse reaction to. I hear a lot of the time they think they are bothering people, no one opens them, and they don’t know what to say. Despite being able to batch them and schedule emails, not many choose this path.
In a world where Rover is killing it in the inbox by sending emails to the people on their list at least once a week, why can’t professional pet sitters who can surely be even more effective, intimate, and relevant do this?
One thing that I don’t see acknowledged is how much email marketing IS one of the only social platforms that you can still control. Although there are still algorithms involved, it is one of the best-producing ways that you can spend your marketing time.
Some people even feel like the email is interrupting their day or is just always spam.
That, my friend, is stinking thinking.
If you make them interesting, people are going to want to read.
Today, I want to break it down to show you how I use email marketing and how you can, too.
8 Ways I Use Email Marketing In My Business
Here’s a brief summary of the ways:
- Give a recap in a weekly email
- Directly talk to my readers
- Segment my audience
- Deliver value
- Have you get to know me
- Deliver sales
- Send videos
- Own, not rent
If you would rather listen:
1. Give A Recap In A Weekly Email
There is no way everyone can possibly see or keep up to date on everything you do.
Even if you are lucky, only 15-25% will open your emails.
However, that’s more than you would have normally, so isn’t that a good sign?
At Jump Consulting, I publish a blog every other week, a podcast every week, and sometimes do a Facebook Live. I also always have something cooking on the back burner, too, and the weekly email is how I can do this.
Pet Sitters and dog walkers can do this, too, by telling people the situations they were able to help that week:
- Cat sitting for someone whose grandmother passed away in another state
- Walking the puppy that has too much energy
- Helping to care for a dog during the schedule changes of a divorce
All of these examples help to humanize your business and show people how you are able to help your clients.
If you have any great IG or FB stories, or posts that got lots of interaction, or a local event coming up… these are all great to put into the newsletter too.
2. Directly Talk To My Readers (With A P.S. Section)
At the end of an email, you can always insert a P.S. section.
I do this when I usually ask questions. It is always interesting to see the replies I get. I often call the reader to action by asking them to hit reply and tell me something.
Because of this, I’m able to get the line of communication open to start chatting.
The P.S. can be powerful because most of the time we are reading on our phones and scanning the email. Not reading word for word. But where does the eye end?
You guessed it, on the P.S.
Another fun way to use the P.S. section is when you have a really long message and you put a short amount of text in the body, have your signature, and then a longer P.S.
For some reason, people are more willing to read the P.S. than the body of the message.
3. Segment My Audience
Another quick and fun way you might want to use your email is to segment your audience.
You might have seen me ask you a few times in the emails…
“Are you a starter? Builder? Scaler?”
This question has buttons attached where I ask you to press the one that matches.
My email marketing system then tags these people and we know just where they are in their business. It helps so I can send specific messages that will speak directly to their problems.
The way a pet sitter or dog walking company can do this is simply by asking…
“Do you have dogs and cats in your home? Dogs? Cats?”
Press which applies.
There, you can send dog-specific emails or cat-specific emails. After all, a cat client doesn’t want to hear about how you are looking for two more dogs to walk M-F, am I right?
4. Deliver Value
Emails are a great way to break the mold and send a quick message that is out of the ordinary.
“Meet me at the Fall Festival Sat 2 pm. Bring Fido! Let me know if you will be there” or something short and sweet like “Wondering where to get your Santa Paws pictures this December? Check out this list we made. Tailwags, COMPANY”
Short and sweet. It doesn’t have to be long, drawn-out with text boxes everywhere, and be boring and it shouldn’t talk at all about how great you are.
It should add value to their life.
5. Have You Get To Know Me
Emails are a great way to communicate your personality to your current pet sitting clients and your prospective ones.
For example, you may have certain traits or live your life in a certain way that identifies with people.
Maybe it’s your religion, ethnicity, favorite sports team, or favorite dog/cat breed.
The more that you can build a relationship with your audience, the more that they are worth to you. If you spend time getting to know your audience and allowing them to get to know you, then your bond will be strong.
The key is to be as personal as you can. That’s what people identify with.
6. Deliver Sales
Email is one of the best ways to communicate with your audience about the sales that you have.
Maybe you’re running a holiday discount. Or, offering a discount for first-time clients.
You can do that with email.
And, the delivery rate will be much higher than social media can provide.
Most business owners cite an email list as the reason why they’re successful — because the sales come from there.
7. Send Videos
Videos are a great way to interact with your audience!
I even have an introduction video in my email signature that explains who I am and why I’m in someone’s inbox.
Videos can be a great personalized touch for welcoming clients into your business. Or, even around the holiday season as a thank you for their business.
The videos don’t need to be perfect or sent to an editor. Simply show your personality and people will appreciate it!
8. Own, Not Rent
Let’s have a quick chat about owning vs. renting your audience.
On social media, you don’t own your audience. If Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram decided to shut down, then you wouldn’t be able to retain any of that traffic or exposure.
But, with your email list, you OWN them.
You could take those people and continue to market to them regardless of what happens.
That’s the power of an email list and why you want to own your audience, not rent them.
In this article, we discussed the 8 reasons why I use email marketing in my business:
- Give a recap in a weekly email
- Directly talk to my readers
- Segment my audience
- Deliver value
- Have you get to know me
- Deliver sales
- Send videos
- Own, not rent
Do you already do some of these with your emails? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Tell me how I can help you get more clients in your pet sitting business!
Are You Still Not Sure What To Write?
I get it. I mean after all the admin work, pet sitting work, social media work, who has time to sit down and think about something that would be interesting to your clients? Then write it, format it, get graphics, and send it out. Oie. Not another thing to do Bella!
I know, I know, I get it.
That is why we provide you with two short and fun emails to send to your clients each month in the Better Marketing with Bella program. Rover is doing it weekly – how often are you doing it?
One of the biggest challenges marketers (that’s you!) face is getting their community to know about their pet sitting business.
We don’t need the entire world to know about our services, just a saturation of those geographically the closest to us. We need to get them so excited that they are the top of the mind when the need arises for themselves or their loved ones.
I specifically say excited because being known typically means that you have a certain emotion that is being evoked, which means people might not always remember exactly what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
This is the secret sauce.
But how exactly can we become known to our community beyond the usual posting on Facebook, having a blog, a website, Instagram, and shaking hands and meeting other pet business professionals in the area?
This phenomenon is what is your brand saying about you when you are not there? Do you know? Or, not saying anything because people don’t know you can be just as bad.
What Do You Want To Be Known For?
Getting known has to do with getting clear on what you want to be known for. What makes your business unique? There are hundreds of businesses in your area that take care of pets and there are a lot of friends and family that can do it, too.
So, what really makes your business unique and different?
Often times this isn’t the facts or what you do, but it is the how you do it all that matters. That leaves the feeling that gets people talking.
Answering this question will be the key to your success.
Your Unique Competitive Advantage
If your brain is coming up blank I want you to take a minute and listen to this podcast episode when I had Jennifer Diepstraten on. She talked about quantum benefits and it was really enlightening to see how our businesses really were different.
I want you to try to think of 3 – 5 things that your competitors can’t say that you can.
Use these questions below to help you fill in the blanks:
Are you memorable for your:
- Cost (high or low)?
Use this in all your marketing.
Talk about it at events. Make it apart of your unique story that no one else can tell. Mark Schafer is really good at this. He is the author of KNOWN — The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age.
He presented in the Mastermind and really pushed our beliefs on how exactly we were accomplishing this in our own marketing…
How we were going to stand out and actually hold space for the pet parents in our community to actually belong.
Check this out:
Pretty powerful, right?
That is the type of goodness we have in the Mastermind.
It was really eye-opening as to how to stop doing the same things that everyone else does and start doing the unique things in our own business marketing.
So How Can We Stand Out On Social Media To Be Known In Our Community?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
I mean we know that 68% of Americans use Facebook. Oddly enough the same exact percentage also have pets according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey
(Side note…I thought that was crazy that they are BOTH 68% when I was writing this article too! LOL)
There is no doubting the fact that our clients are on Facebook. Instagram is close behind. They are the sister to Facebook and growing just as fast.
Did you know that over 70% of users are under 35 years of age? Do you also realize that the buying power of this segment is major with many waiting until much later in life to start a two-legged family so they are able to pour a lot of their discretionary income into their four-legged loved ones?
We have to know the latest trends in social media.
We have to know how to connect with others, but we also have to know how to get them to:
- Reshare content
- Spread it virally in their local community
Even though likes are going away on Instagram, (did you know that?) we can still show the social proof of the engagement of the people who actually stop their scroll long enough because they find us interesting or relevant enough to interact and respond to our posts.
The Value Of Being A Resource In Your Community
Do you want to be a drive-by or a destination in your community for the best pet sitting business?
Imagine being the first thought of pet resource in your community. I am talking about getting all the calls from people saying things like…
“I need something for my pet — I know you don’t provide it, but I thought you would know.”
This basically means they are thinking of you as the thought leader or expert in your town.
This is powerful.
This is top of the mind awareness. But if you have no unique presence, no professional presence online…
Then this is going to be pretty hard to accomplish.
We need to stand out on social media by having professional graphics, captivating captions, and reactive engagement with our communities.
Here is Exactly What You Can Be Posting Every Month To Be Known (And Shared) In Your Communities:
Here are my thoughts on ways to be seen in your local community:
- Facebook Lives and Blogs: Write two blogs that are meaningful and follow them up with a Facebook live (record the video to embed in the blog post)
- Professional Graphics: Post at least 8-10 professionally made graphics with an interesting description that reflect your branding, logo, and colors. The graphic is there to capture attention and the copy is there to engage the reader.
- Videos: Once a week, create a square video for Instagram and be sure to convert it to vertical for Facebook to have the most visibility across platforms. Be sure to keep it to a good time limit and not to overpower the message as an advertisement.
- Facebook Video Cover: To give an impression that you keep up with your marketing, are trustworthy, and up to date on all the new things, impress your viewers with a new Facebook video cover each month highlighting something relevant to the time of year.
- Email Marketing: Since Rover is sending emails out weekly, I highly suggest that you do yours at least twice a week. Make it about your clients, be relevant, use minimal design elements. The sole purpose of this is to elevate you as a thought leader. Even if they don’t open it.
- Instagram and Facebook Stories: The viewership of these two platforms is growing exponentially. Creating stories in real-time WITH professionally produced graphics that link together for a common message is powerful and underutilized. Not to mention, very much reusable as you build an arsenal.
- Thought Leaders: Follow social media thought leaders like Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook and Jenn Herman, the world’s forefront blogger and author on Instagram to stay in the loop. They’re both my friends. 🙂 Follow them. Read every update.
If you do all of this, you will be well ahead of your competition and other pet sitting businesses in your area.
You will be perceived as a thought leader, someone who is on top of it all, and someone they can trust.
You will want to connect with other key influencers in your area and prompt them to share your hard work so you can be helpful to them and their brand, their communities, and of course expand your own.
If any of this seems overwhelming, you can actually get all that is listed above and more for the lowest price ever offered via Better Marketing with Bella.
Join us for a six-month contract to get all the graphics, captions, square videos, cover videos, vertical videos, blog/video outlines, emails, individual and group coaching calls, and more.
People come to me all the time saying that they have no idea what to post on social media. They are staring at the cursor and have no idea what to say. All this pressure is mounting to try and be witty, to be different. If you’ve ever felt this way, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’m sharing seven things you can do when you’re lost on what to share on your social media.
Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss
Be inspiring to your community and think local. Are there events in your community that you can get involved with? Or another local business or person you can shout out on social media? Highlight your community and connections. You are the expert. You have put in all the time and have learned a lot. Share your knowledge you have. Also, tell stories to draw out the emotions of your viewer. People remember how you made them feel, not what you said. If you don’t have the time to prepare your posts or think of ideas, Better Marketing With Bella can help by providing graphics, videos, captions, hashtags, Instagram stories, and more. Everything you need to stay active on social media with your branding to market your business.
- How can you inspire others? [1:10]
- How do you keep track of everything? [3:00]
- What are some ways to be funny on social media? [4:55]
- How can you leverage local events in your community? [5:55]
- What are tips that you can share with your audience? [7:50]
- Who can you feature or shout out on your social media? [9:40]
- How can you tell a story on social media? [12:20]
- What if you don’t have the time to do these things? [13:50]
- Read the blog: jumpconsulting.net/say-on-social-media/
- Mari Smith:facebook.com/maris
- Jenn Herman: facebook.com/jenn.herman1
- Nick Trivillian: facebook.com/nick.trevillian.7
- Better Marketing With Bella: joinjumpconsulting.com/marketing/
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You are staring at the cursor. You have no idea what to say. All this pressure is mounting to try and be witty. To be different. Stand out and “stop the scroll” as they say. What the heck to do I do when I don’t know what to say or post on Social Media?” you wonder.
Folks, you are not alone. Many people don’t know what to say and it is why many pre plan their content or hire someone who makes a living at this to do it.
- Do you start with a question?
- Do you use emojis?
- Do you use hashtags?
- Tell a joke?
- Tag people or businesses?
- Do you write a short caption or a long description?
How do we actually execute a really great post on social media?
It all starts by knowing what to say. You need to know who your audience is. What resonates with them. You should pretend like you are speaking to your perfect client or avatar, then it will make that darn cursor a little less threatening.
1. Be Inspired
Always be looking for inspiration. Follow people who you admire. Who add life to your business, are creative, or give you something to think about. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook put them in your lists so they come up on the regular. I love to follow
- Mari Smith for FB stuff
- Jenn Herman for IG stuff
- Nick Trivillian because he is always pushing
- The #motivate hashtag on Instagram
2. Keep a List
When you are inspired, it is important to have a way to recall what inspired you on a moments notice. This doesn’t mean wasting time trying to search for it or remember it. It means being crafty with your time and efficient.
On most social media apps, you are allowed to create a list. It is literally called a “list” on Twitter. On Instagram, you can save it and categorize it, and on Facebook, you can Save the post or video. You can also screenshot it and put it into a folder on your phone, or maybe if you are Ninja enough, email it to your Trello or Asana board to keep it all in one place.
3. Be Funny
Is there something that you can take from your inspiration list above that was funny? Something that you can turn into a funny story? Maybe a pet did something? Maybe you thought of something? Whatever it is, and whenever it occoured you need to add it to the funny list so you have it when you need it.
4. Think Local
Are there events coming up in your local area that you can talk about? Perhaps there is a Fall Festival? Perhaps there are many? Perhaps that you can promote them all at once and talk about how since they are all outdoors, you can take your pets. Then you can follow up with tips and tricks on how to make it successful?
Are there places to have Santa Paws photos? Can you talk about that and tips for how to groom your dog, what to wear, how to act, where the best ones are, how to get them to look at the camera, etc?
Leverage the time of the year and things that are happening in your area.
5. Teach Tips
You are the expert. You have put in all the time and have learned a lot. Let’s brainstorm for a minute on just what you know that you could easily teach someone.
- Do you know how to pill a cat?
- Do you know how to train a dog to potty outside?
- Do you have tips to train puppies?
- How do you get a cat to warm up to you?
- Know how to bake or freeze any fun treats for pets?
- How do you give a treat to a dog without getting your thumb bit off?
- Are there easy recipes you can use leftovers to make for your dog?
- What’s the best way to get pet hair off the couch?
There is so much that you have in your head that I bet you didn’t even think about. Write it all out. Teach about it. Write about it. Go live. Make a graphic. Do something with all the knowledge in your pretty little head!
6. Feature or Shout Out
This one is actually easy. Find someone doing something good and talk about them! It is that simple. This could be:
- Someone who just left you a review: Copy and paste to social media.
- Someone who just achieved something: Certification or training complete? (your staff? dog trainer?)
- A local Veterinarian: Feature what makes them unique.
- A local community: What you like about it and why they are pet-friendly.
- A networking group: Maybe you are a member and want to share that you are a member and what you love about the group?
This is meant to highlight your community, connections, and others. It is interesting because you aren’t talking about you or your business. You are giving the impression that you are an active business owner who notices and connects with those around them. In addition to elevating those around you, it is an attractive read to your viewers.
7. Tell A Story
It is as simple as this:
- A beginning
- A middle
- An end
Think of the calls or emails you have received and the different situations that come at you. How were you able to come in and save the day? What is something that has happened with your staff where you have learned from it and maybe even created a policy from? What is something outlandish that not everyone would think that you encounter as a pet sitter and dog walker, but did, and lived to tell about it?
Telling stories is a great way to draw out the emotions of your viewer. People remember how you made them feel, not what you said.
Now How Do You Execute All Of This?
Funny you should think this. I gave you all the answers and now you have a new problem… Am I Right?
How do you actually put this all into play?
Wait — what?
Yeah, you allow my team and I to handle all of this for you Jan through June 2020 through Better Marketing with Bella.
The World’s Best Designers
We have contracted with the worlds best designers.
I am not kidding.
They are the ones who create graphics and videos for major design companies. They know what works, what’s on trend, and will make you look like you have invested in the big time! All of the assets delivered to you each month are branded with your logo, colors, and fonts.
We have taken all the guesswork out of it for you.
It really can’t get any better than that.
But in all reality you know that my team and I aren’t a huge company so this program is limited to the number of people we can accept. Every year we always offer it to existing members first, then those on the waiting list. Most years, we don’t even go public with the offer so I highly suggest that if you are the slightest bit interests, get on the waitlist! 🙂 It will take you three minutes.
(Shhhh! ok, good you are still following me…) I wanted this to only be for those who are really wanting to up their game in the design and social department of their business. But you must be the one who feels like they are so creatively brain dead, don’t have any time for anything else to do in their business, and wants a REALLY good deal… Here’s the real scoop: Those who are currently IN the Mastermind (or join by the end of the month) are the ones who are getting $97 off each MONTH for this program making the total cost only $350 a month. That is the LOWEST we have ever offered this program! We can do that because we have been doing it so long that we have finally gotten all our internal systems smoothed out so we are working smarter. It is also the MOST amount of material we have ever given out. So I am really happy to be able to lower the cost and increase the assets. Seriously, what is your hesitation? Go get in line now! If you have questions… you know where to get me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing is something that either comes naturally to you or you despise. Have you ever had that moment where you’re lying awake at night wondering how to bring in more clients that you WANT? Or how to stop getting calls, texts, and emails from the clients that you don’t want?
You just hired a few incredible people and you don’t want them to lose interest (because we all know how hard it is to find great people) but you just don’t have any clients to give them.
Or you’re on the edge of working 100% in your business and want to hire but also doing a balancing act where you don’t give up all of your work. Your bills need to be paid, so you can’t give up your clients to the first person you hire. Things would be easier if you had a steady stream of clients coming in, or your name was everywhere in the community so that you had a bunch of new clients to give to your new hire.
You hope that when the residents in your town think about pet care… they think about your company.
Does any of this sound familiar?
That is the result we all dream of but honestly, it is really hard to get there.
The most common challenges I see pet businesses face around marketing are not having the time to do it, the money and resources to fund it, or the creative juices to create it.
Can I get an Amen?!?!
I Don’t Have The Time To Market.
Your to-do list probably has a to-do list. You are running non-stop all day and you might be surviving off fast food, sugar, and caffeine. I see you. Busting your tail trying to hold it all together, wishing for the day when things weren’t so busy. Even when a day comes when you finally have a few hours to work on the business something happens. You have a mental breakdown, you don’t have the energy, or it just isn’t the day.
We all have 24 hours in a day yet there are people who are far more impactful. What do they have that I don’t? How can I make an impact like them? Maybe you’re wondering how these 7-figure companies that I talk about pull it off.
One 7-figure mama who I work with comes to mind. She lives at a dog kennel, runs a large dog walking business, homeschools her two sons, and takes regular vacations. I am in awe of her. The mental power it takes to accomplish all of that is inspiring.
But she doesn’t do it alone, she has teams that support her, the family, and the business. She also has incredible will power and determination to succeed! She could say she doesn’t have time to do everything but she makes the time.
I’m sure you could be checking something off of your to-do list now, but somehow you ended up here. 🙂 Maybe you feel like you haven’t spent all of your time well. You dream of having more time to learn something new, work on the business, or plan dinner.
Time is one of our most precious commodities. It almost always gets in the way of business owners working on marketing within their business.
Marketing Uses Resources And Money.
In addition to taking a lot of time – marketing also isn’t cheap. When you think about how much an hour of your time is worth ($50? $100?) and how many hours you can put towards marketing, it is costing you a lot. Not only in time (for things like finding a designer and a scheduling software to help…) but also to fund the designer and the software to help streamline your efforts.
If you are like me when I used to have my pet sitting company of 14 years, you would binge on creating marketing materials and then go stale for a long time. It was only when you were feeling creative or found a designer that new materials were created. Then you might regret hiring the designer because there goes lots of money out the window. $500.00+ each time it seems.
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have someone to help us schedule the marketing – but then that is all that they can do. They can’t create the campaigns and they don’t know how to do hashtag research. They take 3 times as long to do something that it would take you. It costs a lot of money to produce all the marketing efforts.
It Is Challenging To Be Creative When You Have No Brainpower.
You know exactly what I mean…. I hear it all the time “I am so burnt out” and you know what happens then? Good-bye all the cute marketing ideas you might have had to create a new program, event, design, etc.
When your brain isn’t functioning or you’re permanently running on cortisol and stress, there is nothing left to get creative and be inspired. Have you ever logged onto Facebook to see that it was “international dog day” and everyone is sharing pictures? Now you just feel down and out because you think “why didn’t I know it was national dog day?”
All these special days are starting to get out of control, don’t you think? BUT — it is a great talking point, and you are in the pet industry, so it does make sense for you to jump on the bandwagon.
Feeling the pressure to post something, and not having the time or software to create anything, you just end up sharing someone else’s “international dog day” content.
There. It’s done.
But is it really? The lack of time to plan, resources to create, and creativity to produce something have lead you to make the worst decision. Which is sharing someone else’s content, because it’s only helping them, not you.
Golf Clap. Bravo.
Gosh, This Is All Tough, Right?
Who the heck is looking out for you? Who is there to be creative for you? Know exactly what works in your dog walking or pet sitting business? Something where you don’t have to constantly be finding vendors, spending time mapping it all out and deciding when to post the content, or trying to figure out the best software to make things?
Oh, and then goes what? Instagram and Facebook changed their algorithm….. again!
I got news for you – it happens multiple times a year and just when you think you have “beat” the system, it changes. And now we are all back to square one.
But what if you had someone in your back pocket? Someone with their ear to the ground… breaking down every conference and announcement that Facebook and Instagram makes? Knowing some of the top marketers in the social media space? What if you knew someone who had a proven track record in generating hundreds of thousands of dollars from social media? What if I took all the guess work out for you – gave you videos, graphics, outlines, content calendars, coaching sessions, IG and FB stories, captions, cover videos, and so much more?
I’ve Got Your Back.
Did you know that I have a program called Better Marketing with Bella? Did you know that every. single. semester. the program changes because social media is always changing?
What worked on social media in January 2017 isn’t what is working right now.
Did you know that if you type “comment, share, or like” in your description, you will not be shown in the newsfeed? Do you know that in 2017 you could post a description and still be seen in the feed and now your best chance of being seen is video?
Do you know there is no one else in the industry creating white-label videos for people like you – who have pet sitting and dog walking businesses to use on their platforms? Videos that are interesting, don’t all look the same, and that have your colors, logo, and font on them? Yeah. It is huge!
Listen, for the lowest price EVER – we are opening the doors soon for Better Marketing with Bella. You can get one of the limited seats, but the doors will close soon and it won’t be an option until 2020 to join for the second half of the year.
Even if you are the tiniest bit interested, you should fill out the short application – this will be time well spent, with money that won’t break the bank, and creatives from professional designers that would cost you thousands of dollars a month if you wanted to hire them privately to just do your brand.
Knowing what to charge our clients is always a hot topic. It is hard to figure out if we should base it off of what others are charging, the averages, stay competitive, or something else. There is a fear that if we charge too much, we won’t have any work or a bunch will leave. So whether you are just starting out or have been in business for a long time, the following will be a timeless message.
What Are You Charging For?
Duh Bella… pet sitting and dog walking you might be saying. But what if I told you that is what everyone else is doing and you should be different!
Easy. Are you charging for a service that takes someone’s problem away and gives them a certain positive feeling or are you taking their money and giving them X amount of your time?
It is really as simple as that and it is something that many don’t think about. Most pet sitting websites look like this:
15 minutes = $18
30 minutes = $22
45 minutes = $25
We walk, feed, play, and love on your pets just like they are our own.
Blah… blah… blah…
Now if you are feeling a little irked at me for saying that, I beg you to stay with me and hear me out. What I just showed you above is what the majority of business owners present. How about presenting a problem that you take away and then give them a positive feeling?
Lunch Time Let Out: Never worry about racing home in the middle of the day from work to give your dog relief. Take back your lunch break and relax while we let the dog out. TLC, Water, and love always included.
Puppy Visit: Congratulations on your new addition! Just like babies, puppies are a lot of work and we are here to help save your carpet and furniture by keeping your same training schedule so your carpets don’t get soiled and your furniture gets chewed. With our help, your puppy can learn the rules of your house at an early age with the consistency we provide. We reinforce the words you are using and get all their puppy energy out.
Do you see how one is like a menu and the other is more emotional? Take some time to think about what you are selling and how you are selling. This basically comes down to quantity vs quality.
How Is Your Sign Up Process Presented?
We did an interesting experiment in the Mastermind. We pretended we were a new client for 9 of the members and timed how long it took for us to be able to check Pet Sitter/Dog walker off of our to-do list. The average sign up took about 8-10 minutes. Some we couldn’t even sign up.
Side note: If you are in the Mastermind and didn’t watch yet, it is in the Processes Unit 🙂
Did you know that 60% of the sale is over by the time you even hear from the client? 60%! Imagine how many people are actually going to your website but not converting. Do you know why? It just might be because of the user experience on your website. How easily can they get what they need or sign up? Most of the time if people have questions, they will NOT ask you.
I feel like many business owners are quick to blame it on the price. The price is too high… I can’t charge that much, which might be true, but it is neglecting to look at the full picture and this part of the picture is called User Experience.
What Do You Upcharge For?
Upcharges are those additional fees for extra pets, time or tasks. Consider a few things here:
- How does it make your client feel when they have a base charge but then all these add ons? Does it focus them on the price?
- If you charge by time (ie. 15 min and 30 min…) then are you always leaving a bill if you or your staff is there for extra time? Like 20min or 25min? or are you just leaving money on the table? Who decides how long the job should take?
In other words, will your charges be all-inclusive or al la carte?
Will You Put Your Prices On Your Website?
This is a tricky one that really depends on a number of factors. I will do my best to break it down:
Put them on your site if:
- You have a cheap price.
- Your ideal client is a price shopper.
- Your website is not professionally created.
- You do not have a software where the client can automatically sign up without speaking/emailing you.
- It is a very simple fee structure.
Do not put them on your site if:
- Your price is average or high.
- Your ideal client thinks of their pet as their baby or this service as a luxury.
- You have software that is simple and easy to sign up.
- Your website is professionally created with a user experience (UE) that really is impressive.
- You have problems that you solve on your site, not exchange for time and money.
I am sure there are even more factors, but basically, you don’t want the price to be the determining factor. No one is going to buy from you because you have a pretty website. Price is a factor but when it is introduced into the conversation is important. That being said, if you choose not to have your prices on your website, your call to actions need to be on point (and easy). You also need to address it somehow like, “Prices starting at X.” or “Email/call to find out about our current monthly special”
So when you are trying to decide what to charge consider if it is important to you (or not) to have your prices on your website. That will play a factor when determining what to charge.
Will You Always Be Solo Or Will You Have Staff?
This is a tough one and where business planning comes into play. Obviously, you have a lot larger piece of the pie if you are just solo. However, if you ever want to bring on staff, you must start early in understanding the numbers and what it will take to run a healthy operation. The pricing structure and strategy guide is great for this. This will be a factor in deciding what you should charge.
How Much Does A Visit Cost You?
Have you ever done a cost analysis of how much a visit costs? How much it takes to acquire the clients, wear and tear on your car, gas, your time, supplies, admin work for the actual booking, etc? There are a lot of hidden costs that I don’t think many take into account. This is going to be your expenses. They must be covered and then some. Especially if you have or will have workers in the future.
Will You Be Giving Raises? and When?
Something else to think about when deciding how much to charge is that wiggle room. You want to be able to leave some room for raises. Think about how much you will want to give and how frequently.
Math not Emotions
At the end of the day, you have to remember that deciding what to charge is a mathematical equation and it is not a popularity contest. If you have a keen understanding of all the things that will go into creating your price, you will have a much easier time at the actual marketing of your services. Even though XYZ Pet Sitting company does the same thing as you – the experience and quality are very different. Am I right?
It is exactly why a Ford Fiesta costs $13,000 and a Tesla Model X costs $80,000. Ultimately, both vehicles get you from Point A to Point B bu the experience in which they accomplish the transport is completely different.
How do you think of your business? There is no right or wrong answer. It just all needs to tie into your end goals for what you want from your business.
Most people I talk with want to do less work for more money, be disruptive in their market, have a steady flow of clients, and happy employees who love their pay.
How about you? Tell me below. I want to know!