How Good vs. Bad Graphics Effect Your Business with Annette

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. 

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.

This includes:

  • Brand Colors
  • Fonts
  • Selection of Imagery
  • Logos
  • Explanation of How You Use All of the Above

Brand Colors

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.

Fonts 

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.

Logos

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.

Voice Guide

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. 

Emotion in Graphics

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. 

We’re lucky! 

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

7 Deadly DIY Design

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.

Conclusion

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. 

BMWB

scheduling social media

5 Strategies To Show Up On Social Media When You Don’t Have Time

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.

scheduling social media

5 Strategies To Show Up On Social Media

Here they are:

  1. Find time for things that are important
  2. Recycle your posts
  3. Schedule time in your calendar
  4. Use scheduling software
  5. 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?

leveraging technology

by Brian Fanzo

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.

via GIPHY

 

4. Use Social Media Scheduling Software

Number four is to use scheduling software.

There are software programs like:

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.

 

Conclusion

To recap, here are the five strategies to show up on social media we discussed:

  1. Find time for things that are important
  2. Recycle your posts
  3. Schedule time in your calendar
  4. Use scheduling software
  5. 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?

You’ve got:

  • 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

Right?

Better Marketing with Bella

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:

  1. People already in the program have the option to join again
  2. We ask our waitlist if they’re interested
  3. We open the program up to the public

You can join the waitlist here.

See you inside the program!

Streamline processes

How 5 Experts Streamline Their Social Media Process

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!

 

Streamline processes

 

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.

 

Streamline social media

 

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:

  1. Google calendar
  2. Trello
  3. AgoraPulse

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. 

 

2. Trello

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

3. AgoraPulse

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. 

 

Streamline processes

 

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:

  1. Google Drive
  2. Canva
  3. AgoraPulse

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!) 

 

2. Canva

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.

 

3. 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! 

 

Streamline with Agorapulse

 

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:

  1. Create a content calendar
  2. Implement themes
  3. 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. 

And remember…

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. 

 

Streamline scheduling

 

How a Top-Notch Graphics Designer and Software Founder Streamlines Her Process With Templates and Batches

Meet Annette.

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:

  1. Use templates
  2. Reuse and repurpose
  3. 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!

Preferably monthly.

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!

 

 

Conclusion

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:

  • Graphics
  • Emails
  • Vertical videos
  • Square videos
  • Cover videos
  • Gifs
  • IG stories
  • FB Stories
  • Captions
  • Learning Center

You also receive 4 group zoom coaching sessions and one 1:1 coaching call with Bella ($495 value)

Better Marketing with Bella

How To Use Email Marketing In Your Pet Sitting Business

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.

But why?

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:

  1. Give a recap in a weekly email
  2. Directly talk to my readers
  3. Segment my audience
  4. Deliver value
  5. Have you get to know me
  6. Deliver sales
  7. Send videos
  8. 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.

PS email

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?”

email segment

 

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.

How about…

“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!

send video in email

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.

 

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the 8 reasons why I use email marketing in my business:

  1. Give a recap in a weekly email
  2. Directly talk to my readers
  3. Segment my audience
  4. Deliver value
  5. Have you get to know me
  6. Deliver sales
  7. Send videos
  8. 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?

Save your space in line for our next enrollment here:
Better Marketing with Bella

How To Get Your Community To Know About Your Pet Sitting Business

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:

  • Story?
  • Name?
  • Logo?
  • Operations?
  • 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?

Ah!

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:

 

How to get your community to know about your pet sitting business

 

Here are my thoughts on ways to be seen in your local community:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

 

Conclusion

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.

Better Marketing with Bella

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.

 

Social Media

Episode 164: What To Post On Social Media When You Don’t Know What To Say

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.

Show Highlights

  • 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]

 

Social Media

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Better Marketing with Bella - Social Media Solution

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Better Marketing with bella funny

7 Things To Say On Social Media When You Don’t Know What To Say

 

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

 

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.

facebook d]save list

Save Social Media
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.

Better Marketing with bella funny

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!

pet hair tip

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:

  1. A beginning
  2. A middle
  3. 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?

You don’t.

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.

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.
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(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: bella@jumpconsulting.net 

Marketing Problems

3 Problems Everyone Has With Marketing Their Pet Sitting Business

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.

marketing - hard work

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 time and money

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.

Better Marketing With Bella

Charge - pay online

7 Considerations When Deciding What To Charge Your Clients

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.

Charge - pay online

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!

How?

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?

Like this:

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. 

charge - sign up online

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.

charge for dog walking

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.

it is math

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!

Jump Start Your Pet Business - What should you charge

Curing the Loneliness In Your Pet Business |Jump Into Paradise Retreat

Did you know that the only opportunity that many pet businesses have to connect with others in the industry are less than a handful of events? There isn’t much for people to actually connect unless they go outside of the industry.

  • Every year NAPPS and PSI host a conference. Participants typically stay in a hotel and the information is typically given indoors, inside a conference room. (I actually helped plan the NAPPS 2008 conference in Houston and know a lot about what goes into them.)
  • Then there was another smaller conference that has been held in Las Vegas a few years in a row, but again… the same environment as NAPPS and PSI. (Again I helped with the first two years of starting this “summit”)

As my ability to travel around the country and world expand, I realized just how many opportunities there are for business owners to connect. I see people creating even stronger bonds on and offline and these relationships are making a difference in their personal lives. I am one of them.

 

via GIPHY

 

As a result of these offline relationships, people are actually feeling less alone. They understand the person behind the postings in groups online. They are even more empathetic and understand the personal context of the challenges that people post about.

It is honestly magical. I believe it is all because of these moments where people were able to connect on a personal level.

Sometimes not even about business.

Just as one human to another human. They got to turn likes into real-time hugs.

The ability to connect offline is great for the soul, and I would argue necessary for our mental health. Connecting face to face allows the relationships to grow deeper than online and you can easily create a trusted group of advisors from all of it.

In the pet business, it is safe to say that there is an overwhelming amount of folks who wear their heart on their sleeve. Many of us have a caretaker heart. We would break our own heart to use the piece to fix someone else’s. Am I right?

But who is there for them? Is it really just a shot of dopamine when someone likes or comments on their latest post? It is so important for this to go further than just a surface post. It part of the reason why we have accountability partners in the Mastermind and those that take them seriously are exploding in their business. They have a witness to their struggles and success and struggles. They aren’t alone.

And this is one of the reasons why I started the Jump Into Paradise Retreat in 2018, and had it again in 2019.

“What a refreshing break from the isolation and daily grind of running a pet care business! The rewards are endless from spending a weekend with likeminded boss ladies! It was refreshing to have others who understand how all consuming the pet industry can be but still remain strong and steadfast about making a positive impact in our industry. I left on my trip feeling run down and returned with a new spring in my step ready to take my business to the next level!”

– Randa Clark, Barrington Pet Resort

The Jump Into Paradise Retreat

This is not a conference. It is where we let our hair down (in some cases take our bra off) and just curl up on the couch with cozy slippers (which I provided) a soft blanket and listen to inspiring speakers. There is something special that happens when we aren’t trapped in a conference room under fluorescent lights with the only thing to eat or drink is water, coffee, or some sugar pastry.

That isn’t what the pet lifestyle is about. That isn’t what our days are like.

Speaking for myself, unless the speaker is incredibly insightful or dynamic I find it hard to sit in the same room all day long. Don’t you?

When I created this retreat I specifically wanted to allow the space to eat, drink, relax… all on a flexible schedule. I wanted to facilitate a completely organic experience where our minds and souls would be fed. I was less concerned about a structure and schedule and more concerned with changes of heart and comfort of mind, body, and spirit.

The purpose was simple.

  1. To have extended time together in close quarters where opportunities could happen for connection.
  2. An ability to take a vacation to a luxurious place where participants could feel like royalty for the weekend with all the comfortable amenities they needed. I understand that some business owners don’t ever get to take a vacation and this was their opportunity for that.
  3. To create special opportunities where those connections can happen.

While conferences can be nice, this retreat was made for intimacy amongst strangers who would leave with strong bonds together.

“I never knew I was so much like other brave, lady bosses. I was relieved to learn – we are so much alike that we will be bonded forever. What a wonderful experience being able to let the guards down and just be real. You never know what to expect when attending retreats but this one blew my mind. These are my sisters. I cannot wait until next year. Bought my ticket the day I got home. Bella Vasta is always Extra and makes every experience memorable.” – Jenni Coes, Peaceful Paws Pet Care

Personal Development

Let me let you in on a secret: There is no conference or retreat that will give you information that you can’t already find online.

While living in the information age, with content pumping out on record levels every day in forms of graphics, videos, and articles… there is practically nothing that a speaker can do that you couldn’t find somewhere online.

 

But there ARE experiences like the “Lego Treatment” that one of our speakers Aaron Peirson, CMO for My Home Group did with us that we could never do online. He separated the group into three smaller groups where everyone constructed lego models for each challenge he gave us. It allowed us to access different parts of the brain that we wouldn’t otherwise if he was just lecturing us.

 

“Spending a weekend with the strongest and smartest women around. This has been the most inspiring weekend of the year. And yes I have got my ticket to 2020.”

– Laura Wright PAWright Pet Services

The retreat is about the moments that you can’t plan. I can facilitate the environment but there is so much that organically happens that the only way to describe it is magic.

This retreat allows you to cry with others. It allows you to hug them tight and say “I understand, I have been there” or simply “I see you. I am here for you” Which is something that did happen a few times this weekend because people trusted the process and allowed the vulnerability to let it happen. There is something that physically happens when you are able to “squish” someone else.

Jump Into Paradise Retreat Sign Up

Learning New Things

This retreat allows you to learn new things… and not necessarily in the way that you would online. It is such an intimate setting that you can talk back and forth with the speaker, reflect on what they say, sometimes even hang out with them after their talk as one of our speakers even came back for pool time that night.

Floating in the pool at night

It is in those special moments in the pool we learn things about one another… like who was a beauty queen, someone’s husband was homeless and living under a bridge in a van, someone delt drugs in a past life, someone camped at Mt Everest base camp… it is wild the things you are able to learn about others. You see them in different lights and it really opens up conversations.

Special Elements

  • Organizing pool time at night, black SUVs to take us to dinner like we were the Kardashians (lol),
  • Eating at a restaurant that would be sensitive to all the different dietary restrictions we had (vegan, vegetarian, celiac disease)
  • Meditative yoga. Thinking self-defense class next year?
  • Headshots and pictures around the house.
  • Private chef for two breakfasts and one dinner.

chef cooking

I took careful time and prep to make sure it was an experience unlike anything else we (as an industry) have been offered. The results were everyone feeling so connected and less lonley in our industry.

“A weekend to remember and an experience I’ll never forget! I loved Jump into Paradise so much I already bought my ticket for next years retreat!

Bella curated a weekend and experience like no other. Spending time with other pet care professionals was just what I needed to take my business to the next level. We learned from the incredible speakers, Bella, each other, and ourselves.

Bonding with other like-minded business owners who understand what I go through running my type of business was reassuring that I’m not alone. I highly recommend this retreat for any pet care business owner!”

– Tiffany Lewis, Pet and Home Care

 

Location

The location lends us the name of the retreat. It is always in Paradise Valley, Az which is basically the 90210 of Arizona. Combine that with Jump Consulting and you have JUMP into Paradise.

Clever, huh? 🙂

I also always try to make sure that it is less than a 20 min Uber drive to the airport. The airport is a major international airport that is typically easy to get direct flight in and out of.

We have thought about other locations, but in all honesty, it makes it a lot easier for me to plan because I know what is in the area and have the local insight.

gift boxes

Slippers, necklace, Tshirts, Pop Socket, personalized Yeti mug, Blanket, Orion Gift Certificate ($150 value), eye mask and notebook.

Every Wonder What Goes Into Creating It?

I am willing to lay all the cards on the table. It takes about 6 months of prep after I have the people locked in. For 2019 we sold out two weeks after 2018. This year, we have 100% committed to coming back who were there on the last day. I am so honored to be able to say that. It means a LOT.

Here are some of the elements that I am planning for 2020:

  • Build out the schedule with a theme
  • Preference Sheets (food, drink, restrictions, etc)
  • Gift Boxes
  • Speaker Gifts
  • Transportation
  • FB Group a month out and a month after
  • Find the venue and walk it
  • Gather speakers and their topics, descriptions, and takeaways.
  • Menu for catering
  • Grocery list to stock the house (Note: no one ever goes hungry, lol)
    and I am sure there is a lot more I am forgetting!

Jump Into Paradise 2020

We are already more than half way committed to what will be capacity. This is super exciting considering that the event only concluded 10 days ago. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome back some incredible business owners.

If you feel like you would like to create a support system around you that extends beyond a Facebook post, want to have an excuse to get away in luxury accommodations, have a trip that is practically all-inclusive after you land in Phoenix, and just want to be inspired in a relaxed environment, this is for you.

If you want to be one of those business owners, you can grab your ticket here. This retreat is exclusivly for dog walking, pet sitting, and boarding/kennel business owners only and is an all female event. Feel free to ask me any questions by shooting me an email at bella@jumpconsulting.net and yes, we are offering payment plans if needed.

 

Special thanks to our incredible sponsors, Payroll Experts, JazzHR,
and Business Insurers of the Carolinas
Jump Into Paradise Retreat Sign Up

hiring

How To Stop Asking The Wrong Interview Questions At A Dog Walking Interview

Picture this…. You are all excited about this new hire you just brought onto your team. They have worked at a dog rescue as a volunteer for over five years. They have three dogs of their own. Their husband makes all the money and has the health insurance and their kids have almost graduated high school, with one in college. This new hire seems like a dream come true.

And then, she becomes demanding her second week on the job. She only wants certain clients and only want to work certain hours. She doesn’t like cats, only dogs, and she always has an opinion on the way you do things.

This new hire, that you were so happy about, is now a thorn in your side. You have no idea how to actually pull out this thorn and you have to constantly watch out that it doesn’t prick you deeper. In reality, you just wish she would quit. Eventually, the resentment grows and you feel like a hostage in your own business. Does this sound familiar?

Ever wonder what actually happened? How did she go from the perfect during the interview to a witch in just 14 days?

I see this all the time. Even I have been guilty of allowing it to happen on my own team. I can’t stress how important it is to streamline the hiring process in a way that is always being perfected. To create an image in your mind, let’s call it the gauntlet…

Interview

The Hiring Gauntlet

I think it is important to keep in mind that when you start the hiring process it isn’t about you being on your high horse and having people beg to work for you. Just as it doesn’t work that way on a first date, it certainly isn’t that way during an interview. The interest has to be mutual.

Looking for people to work for you is very similar to looking for clients. You have to appear attractive and appeal to your avatar. You have to understand why they are looking for a job, what value you offer, and why they should pick you over, let’s say, Rover, Wag, or any other company.

Is it possible that your own bias got in the way because your interview process is failing you? Are you blaming it on the job market or your area? I got news for you… unemployment is at an all-time low right now – so you can blame it on whatever you want but the truth of the matter is that excuses aside you must figure out how to systematically overcome this hurdle.

The process of interviewing should not be off-putting. The initial communication shouldn’t be an application or a long list of questions. If you do this, you will decrease your chances of getting people interested in the job and therefore your conversion of the people who look at your application to those who actually apply would be under 10%.  You should always be aware of your conversion rate – it will directly tell you how attractive your hiring ad and process really are. You will learn to tweak it this way.

Interview

If You Want To Be Attractive Here Is What I Suggest You Do:

1. Have a hiring ad that talks directly to your avatar in real human language. If you are lost on what I mean by this, I have a free 3-hour training you can watch here.

2. Have under five initial knock-out questions. For example, you can qualify the area they live in, ask them how much they are looking to make or find out their availability. The hundred other questions that I know you want to ask really don’t matter at this stage in the game. How many people do you meet these days who do NOT have a smartphone? This isn’t 2005. 🙂

Once you have qualified the right type of people to be in your hiring gauntlet now the hard work begins. However, if you have software to help you with this, you won’t ever have to think of what to say again and again because it is as easy as pressing a button to move them from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

This stage could be three open-ended questions. Where they have to describe what they would do. Or, you can have it as a multiple choice. But the toughest part for you is to create these questions. Here is what I mean.

Value-based vs Skill-based Questions.

Would you agree that if you don’t like dogs, you wouldn’t be applying for this position? Would you also agree that we can basically teach people how to walk a dog, scoop cat litter, and feed the pets? If we can agree on that, then we really need to focus more on the VALUE-based questions.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say that you value treating others how you would want to be treated. How can we test for this? One way might be an open-ended question like:

You are walking home from going out to dinner. There was too much food so you are carrying a to-go box with you to save for lunch the next day. You stop at a corner and a homeless woman engages with you and asks you if you can spare any change so she can buy something to eat. What do you do?

1. Pretend you don’t hear her and keep walking. There are homeless people everywhere.
2. Tell her you don’t have any cash on you.
3. Give her money from your wallet.
4. Give her your leftovers. If they were good enough to take home, they are certainly good enough for her.

You would have to decide ahead of time which is the right answer for you and which is the TOTALLY wrong answer for you based on your values. Now, of course, one question can’t give you everything you need to know about a person so certainly you will have to ask more questions. Perhaps even testing the same thing, but knowing the RIGHT questions to ask is huge.

How do they take feedback? Are they adaptable?

I want you to watch this short clip of Trivinia Barber of Priority VA. She was our guest expert for the training we had in June about delegation. Listen to what she says about asking questions, role-playing, and feedback. Can you incorporate this into your business?

 

This is a great example, showing how the ability to adapt to situations could help give you insight into your applicant’s ability.

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions:

Ever since pet sitters started interviewing I’ve seen the same questions come up again and again.

“If you walked into a home and there was poop everywhere, what would you do?”
“If you walked into a home and the dog looked like he was in distress, what would you do?”

All these questions are something you would train the employee for. You would tell them your protocol. Typically the first step is “call the office.”

If you can ask the right questions before you hire people… how much better hires will you make? Would you have to let people go after two weeks? There is always room for improvement and this task is never 100% perfected. Maybe what I said here helps ignite something in your system that you can test. Perhaps you want to know more of what Trivinia said or wish you had software to help you with all of this?

Well in true Bella fashion I will never give you more problems to solve, so you can:
1. Join the Mastermind to watch the entire 1 hour training with Trivinia and 15 other high-level experts we have had over the past year.
2. Grab your trial of JazzHr, 50% off, my hiring ads, and knockout questions here.

Just ask yourself… Am I asking the right questions to understand this person’s values? You need to hire for attitude and train for skill.

Jump Mastermind - Interview

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

Episode 152: BEST OF BELLA: They Ask, You Answer with Marcus Sheridan

This episode is part of the “Best of Bella” series. Bella chose this episode with Marcus Sheridan as one of the best for many reasons. Marcus is one of her favorite human beings, they go on a deep dive of content marketing and his book “They Ask, You Answer”. She doesn’t want you to be making the mistake that she sees others doing when blogging, even if you’ve listened to this episode before you’ll want to give it another listen.

business coaching

Show Highlights

  • How did Bella and Marcus meet? [2:50]
  • Who is Marcus Sheridan? [3:55]
  • How did Marcus realize he needed to slow down and start answering questions? [8:45]
  • What are the five subjects that move the economy? [12:05]
  • What is “Ostrich Marketing”? [13:35]
  • How important is video to the marketing process? [15:20]
  • What is assignment selling? [20:05]
  • How are face-to-face sales changing? [23:20]

They Ask, You Answer

Original Show Notes

On this episode Bella speaks with Marcus Sheridan, a former pool guy turned digital sales and marketing expert. He is the President of The Sales Lion and a Partner at River Pools and Spas.

Bella and Marcus discuss:

  • The philosophy of “They ask, you answer”
  • Why business owners are afraid of just giving honest answers to potential customers
  • The five subjects that move the economy.
  • The dangers of “Ostrich marketing”
  • How important video is becoming to the marketing process
  • Assignment selling
  • Face-to-face sales appointments without you being there.

Marcus Sheridan’s book: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer (available on Amazon)

You can find out more about Marcus at https://www.thesaleslion.com.

Play

What Happens To Your Business When You Join A Mastermind?

So many relationships have been built and broken on missed or targeted expectations and joining a mastermind is no different. When you join a mastermind you should know exactly what you can expect from the group, the leader, and what is expected of you. To make sure that everyone has a positive experience, we have to understand that expectations are a two-way street.

What Do I Need To Do For The Group?

Mastermind

Show Up

As a member of a mastermind, it is important that you show up, ready to listen, be challenged in your thinking, and receive constructive criticism. Simply attending the predetermined meetings can change your experience of the group and it is important for you to be present so you can ask questions, get help, and give help to your fellow members.

Homework

It is also important that you do your homework. Typically at the end of the meetings, you are asked what goals you have for the next meeting and you either have completed it or you haven’t. It is this simple task that helps you practice creating goals and gives you small wins each week when you accomplish your goals. It also shows group members that you are serious about your business and want to move forward.

Encour

You may or may not be the “smartest” one in the group, but know that your opinion, support, and advice always matters. Be sure to show up not only to get help but allow yourself to encourage other members. Your encouragement or confirmation of an idea they have could change their entire outlook! Don’t sell you or your fellow members short.

What Should I Expect From A Mastermind?

Learn From Others

You can expect that people will come from different backgrounds and business practices. Just as you will learn what you CAN do, a mastermind is also an opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes. Sometimes when you’re sitting in on one of your meetings you’ll hear a story about a fellow member who went through a really tough time with a topic you’ve been struggling with and came out victorious.

Let’s use raising prices as an example. You learn from a fellow member that they had all the same fears you had before they raised their prices. Maybe they even said exactly what you’re thinking, “I’m afraid my clients will get mad and I’ll get angry emails or lose clients”.

Then you learn that they were SHOCKED they didn’t lose any clients. Or the one client who left was a client that always complained and they really didn’t like them anyway.

Seeing how other people have faced the same challenges you have and what the outcome was will help give you the confidence to be the incredible business owner that you are. There is a lot of power in knowing that you aren’t the first one to have gone through it. And if the worst happens you have an entire group of people to support you and help evict that negative self-talk that tends to creep up when we are alone in our thoughts.

A mastermind will support you and give you ideas in a way that is empowering, useful, and often proven methodologies.

Long-term Relationships

In most masterminds, you can really rely on having long-term relationships with the members.  It often isn’t a fluid group where there is a revolving door of people coming and going.  The group typically has members enter at a certain time and the group forms together.  People bond and feel a closeness that you don’t feel elsewhere because the intimacy grows as you face struggles head on and cheer each other on.  It’s actually quite powerful and why the group bonds together because they are all vested in each other.

Long-term relationships allow consistency with members and encourage the bonding of the group. People tend to be quite open about their finances, fears, and dreams so they can be better understood in the group and therefore better supported.  There aren’t many other places where a business owner can feel comfortable opening up without fear of competitors seeing, being judged, or feeling inadequate. Masterminds expect you to be vulnerable and comfort in doing so happens because of the long-term relationships created.

Celebrations

Just as a mastermind will be there to get you through the hard times, it’s equally as important that they are there to celebrate with you when you have achievements. Arguably, they are the only ones who really know how much work and guts it took you to make that achievement and you can expect them all to cheer you on through each one.

Episode 151: BEST OF BELLA: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor

This episode is part of the “Best of Bella” series. Bella chose this episode with a former state auditor as one of the best, because she loves being able to bring unique experts to you. If you missed this episode the first time around you’ll be pretty surprised by what you hear.

Interview with a state auditor

Show Highlights

  • Who is Katrina Kadyszewski? [4:10]
  • How does interpretation come into play with auditors? [6:20]
  • Which documents should you have when being audited? [10:55]
  • What is the goal of an auditor? [15:20]
  • Should you get your lawyer or CPA involved when being audited? [17:15]
  • How are businesses chosen for audits? [22:40]
  • How far back should you be keeping records? [24:45]
  • What is the VCSP (Voluntary Classification Settlement Program)? [26:00]

Interview with auditor Best of Bella

Original Show Notes

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Katrina Kadyszewski, a former state auditor with the State of Connecticut.

Katrina has over 16 years of experience working in a variety of financial positions. She started in the brokerage industry with a Series 7, 63 and 65 and life and health license, and then transitioned to audit work for the CT Department of Revenue Services. She then left to support small businesses in their efforts to get organized for expansion.

Katrina spent 3 of her almost 8 years with the CT Dept. of Revenue Services in the Business and Employment Tax Audit Unit, focused primarily on payroll tax issues. The last 5 years she has worked as a Corporation Tax auditor, traveling across the US auditing largely Fortune 500 companies.

Main Topics

Bella and Katrina first discuss a big controversy in the pet sitting industry, which is misclassification of employees as either independent contractors or employees. Katrina outlines some key indicators that auditors look for in making that determination:

  • Is there an actual contract between you and the contractor?
  • Are your payments to them regular in nature?
  • How much control do you have over them with regards to work hours, uniform, training, etc.?
  • Do they offer the same services to other companies through their own business?
  • Are you providing them all the tools, training, and supplies they need?
  • Basically, consider how loose is the relationship?

They also discuss why they think business owners are so apprehensive about audits, what documents a business owner should have at their disposal if they are being audited, and whether business owners should take their lawyer and accountant to the audit. Katrina also gives some insight into what triggers an audit.

Resources

There are resources out there to help small business owners. Katrina and Bella suggest a few, like the IRS’s  20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor status and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage business owners to make the right switch.

Have you ever been audited? Want to hear about pet sitters who have been audited? I have interviewed a handful and reported about it all here.

Play
Rover versus pet sitter

Why Rover Is Beating The Professional Pet Sitter

In May, we talked all about Customer Service and Experience in the Mastermind. As we do with every month, we have guest experts come in and speak with us. This month, it was Dan Gingiss. He simply blew us away with all his knowledge and his reflection on what professional pet sitters are really competing with when it comes to Rover. I was so moved by this idea that I wanted to dedicate an entire blog to it.

 

Here Is What Dan Said:

You see, Dan basically said that the pet parent doesn’t even get to EXPERIENCE our business or how “great” our services are because our entire intake neglects the user experience. The reason why it is so easy for Rover to get the business isn’t because of the low price (what we tell ourselves) but rather the quick and easy process of signing up.

 


I took what he said to heart when I was recently talking to my next door neighbor. She confirmed everything that Dan was saying on the hotseat in the Mastermind. Here is her story:
Rover beating professional pet sitter

Kate Needs A Pet Sitter For Marley:

Marley is a 5-year-old mixed breed who is used to having family and kids around. However, Kate recently separated from her husband and had a work trip coming up. Marley would normally be taken care of by her husband and kids, but this time her kids were going to be at her new husband’s home.

Having many balls in the air in her life, Kate had known about this app named Rover and thought she would try it. In a few minutes, she was signed up and 60 seconds later she found out that her neighbor four doors down was listed on the app.

She sent a request for service via the app and had a consultation scheduled with Karen in less than 30 minutes.

Kate didn’t have to call anyone.

She knew the prices.

She saw the social proof of what others had said about Karen’s experience.

Kate felt confident knowing that Karen was her neighbor and that she had experience under her belt, and by the sight of her picture appeared to be a baby boomer. “How convenient,” Kate thought.

They met the next day for a consultation where Kate told Karen everything about Marley and just like that, a new relationship was formed. Karen did mention to Kate that once they established their relationship, she would be willing to take it off the app.

Rover beating professional pet sitter

What About This Intake Prevented Kate From Going Elsewhere?

I was really interested in this conversation I was having with Kate. What I left out above is that I asked her if she considered a google search before going to Rover. She said she did.

Kate had searched for “pet sitters near me” and “pet sitters Phoenix.” She went on to tell me that she clicked on their sites and they either looked like they were a “fly by night” sitter or it was too complicated to sign up. She didn’t want all the back and fourth of calling, emailing, or texting. She wanted the path of least resistance (her words, not mine) and to get this task taken care of on her list amongst all the other personal things going on in her life.

The Path Of Least Resistance

The sales process is such a delicate little flower, touch the wrong petal and it will wilt and die. Many of us think our sales process starts when we get to talk to the customer but in actuality, 60% of the sales process is OVER by the time we speak to them. (Our hotseat expert in April, Mark Schafer told us that!)

If you think about it, if people can’t:

  • See themselves or their problem on the front page of your website above the fold
  • Know where to go to sign up
  • Have an easy time signing up
  • Feel like they have signed up and checked it off their list
  • Get to speak to a human or get a fast response when requested

Then they will move onto the next provider. I would even argue that many new clients who try to find a sitter on Rover contact more than one pet sitter at a time. I would also venture to say that the first person who gets back to them or that they like during a consultation would be the one they choose.

It was only two or three years ago where that face-to-face meeting was the most important thing in the process and I can hear many pet sitters thinking, “But Bella it is!”

But you are wrong.

Stay with me… I am fighting FOR you…

While the consultation was so important just a few years ago… now you won’t even get that opportunity if the beginning of your sales process is preventing people from signing up.

There were many predictions this would happen and it is here. The experience that a consumer has with your business before they even meet you is paramount. It is why Rover has been winning. It isn’t because of the professional or non-professional service.

In fact, you would be lying to yourself to think that all professional pet sitters are great or all Rover sitters are bad because that just isn’t the case. Rover, as you know, is a tech company. They will keep winning every time because of the experience on the app. That is what draws people to sign up. It is familiar to download an app. It is accomplishing to know that you found a pet sitter or dog walker for your dog.

So How Can The Professional Pet Sitter Win?Rover beating professional pet sitter

I thought you would never ask! In order to start winning more you MUST change your mindset. You also MUST build your team because you are going to need people to help you accomplish all of what I am about to say.

Are you ready for me to spill the tea?

  1. If you use a software app tell people to download it RIGHT AWAY on your front page.
  2. Know the problem you are solving. It isn’t dog walking and pet sitting. It is trust, peace of mind, and guilt.
  3. Enable the feature to allow people to sign up right away. Doing so will only allow them to feel like they have accomplished something and they have something invested with you. Don’t adopt the stinkin’ thinkin’ of “But Bella, I need to meet with them and approve them first.” I agree! That is what the consultation is for. Let them feel like they are getting somewhere with you.
  4. Talk EXACTLY to your avatar on your website. If I can copy and paste your website onto someone else’s site, you are doing it wrong.
  5. SHOW ME what it is like to sign up with your company and use you as a pet sitter. Don’t tell me. Telling me was so 3 years ago… this day and age you must SHOW people!
  6. Never change your website again without using the data you can get from your website via Hotjar and Google Analytics.

These changes should really set you apart from the competition. It should appeal to your exact audience, draw them in, and get them interested. Words like “professional” don’t mean much but when you talk about areas in your community, how easy it is to sign up, manage their expectations, and follow through on your promises – you can be way ahead of the game.

Get your systems flowing perfectly so you can attract the masses, qualify them through your processes, and sign them up in record time.

I know this works because I have helped countless companies make this switch in their messaging. I have seen how talking to everyone doesn’t work and addressing your target does.

When you know that your target is a busy professional, they want pet care checked off their list. When you know that your target is a busy mom or someone in the middle of a big life change, they want pet care checked off their list. They don’t want to receive instructions on how to sign up. Or to sign up a little to then be told 24 hours later they need to fill in even more info. Give the people what they need.

You have to remember that sales are a HUGE umbrella that covers a lot of things. You need to make sure that none of the “things” are preventing you from making the sale.

 

People vs Process How to Discover the Real Problem in Your Business.

I had a coaching call recently with a client who was upset that her employee started her own Instagram account sharing all of the dogs and cats that she was caring for. Understandably, the business owner was emotional over it as she has had two past staff members start their own companies. She felt threatened and betrayed by this staff member and was contacting me to find out what to do about it.

My first question to her was, “What does your handbook say about social media conduct in your business?” 

Oops! She didn’t have one. Just the generic clause that says something about keeping the client’s information private and that all trade secrets and marketing materials are the property of the business.

 


This situation is more common than you may realize. A lot of companies haven’t addressed the ever-growing social media space where we have phones that could record and document just about everything we do, including inside our client’s homes.

For many, it is unclear about how and when we are allowed to use our devices and how that affects or helps our job. If we are not explicit in our handbook about what process needs to take place when capturing images, then we simply cannot hold our staff accountable to anything and thus can’t get upset.

This brings up the major distinction we need to address when on the verge of getting upset at our staff:

Is it a People Problem or a Process Problem?

people vs process problempeople vs process problem

Anytime you start feeling all the feels over a situation in your company, as a leader, I want to ask you to slow your roll enough to ask yourself “is this a people problem or a process problem?”

What do I mean by that?

If you have a people problem on your hands, chances are you already have laid out specific processes in order to complete tasks in your company. You have given explicit instructions via written, verbal, video, etc and have drawn a clear picture of what success should look like. It is just the person who has chosen not to follow what you have outlined or their poor attitude or insubordination just simply contributes to their poor performance of a task.

If you have a process problem, it might appear that it is a person if you think that they just didn’t do it right. But that is rarely the case. If we look closer to see if you have given accurate instructions one can see that perhaps the staff member was unclear on what they needed to do. Or maybe they understood it one way but you actually intended for the finished product to be different.

Let me help illustrate with a few more situations. See if you can relate to any of these:

people problem or process problem

Pet Sitter Eats The Clients Cheese

Sounds like a pretty silly headline right? But it is true. A few years back we had a very popular discussion inside my Facebook group about whether a staff member should be fired for eating cheese from the client’s refrigerator. (Really, I can’t make this up) 

“A client called a pet sitting business owner furious because he saw their pet sitter on his nanny cam eat a piece of cheese from the refrigerator while there for a daily dog walk. This sitter was a top sitter at the company and seemed to be a great employee.”

Now if we lead with emotions, we can absorb the anger from the clients and spew the fire to our staff and ask them “Why did you do that?” Or we could take a deep breath and think, “Is it prohibited to eat anything from the clients home while on visits? Or could the client have given the impression to the sitter at any point that it was okay?”

As a manager, we need to look at the facts. If you did have a clause in your handbook that prohibited any food or beverage to be consumed that wasn’t brought into the home by the sitter – then this would be a people problem. The sitter was not following your process.

The Sitter Who Requests Too Much Time Off:

Ever have that sitter who is constantly telling you they need days or times off? What do you do? How do you react? To see if this is a people problem or a process problem, ask yourself, “Do I have a time-off request process?” Do they need to request and then you approve or deny? Do they have to find someone to cover their shift? Is there a cut off time when they can request? What does your handbook tell them to do? If it doesn’t address this, it is a process problem that we need to establish within your business and add to the handbook.

When this is established clearly in your handbook and the staff member is always requesting time off, then you can cite the handbook process and blame it on that. If this person is rejecting your process or not following it, then it is a people problem. At which point you have other decisions to make, like redefining their availability or cutting back their hours.

text pet sitter

Too Many Texts Asking You How To Do Their Job:

Feel like your phone notifications won’t stop dinging to alert you to a new email or text and it is from the same staff member asking questions? Ask yourself if you have addressed this in your handbook or processes. If you haven’t, that is a process problem and be thankful that it is offering you an opportunity to solve this problem so it doesn’t happen again. Address it in your handbook.

You will know if it is a people problem if you can keep referring them back to the handbook. Perhaps some additional 1:1 coaching is needed from you or your manager with them. If it has been explained before it is an opportunity to coach them. Say things like, “How could I have been more clear on what is expected?” or “Where do you feel we are experiencing the disconnect?” Typically these phrases will encourage positive and open dialogue so you can work together. If they just aren’t getting it, or the information isn’t sticking it might be time for a write-up. If you have clearly defined the process or what success looks like, then it is a people problem.

Being a Great Leader In Your Company

Being a great leader in your company is a tough thing to do because we have built our businesses from the ground up with our blood, sweat, and tears. Often times we want to react and get emotional about things that we feel like everyone should know because we have known them forever. After all, that is why we are the business owner, right? Just don’t forget that not everyone has been doing it as long as we have been AND that getting our processes all written out is often difficult because we forget to include some things. Try to learn from every experience, check your emotions at the door, and ask yourself, “Is this a people problem or a process problem?” It will help you every time.

Process problem - employee handbook and manual

Switching ICs to Employees for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

Most Common Problems When Switching ICs to Employees

Switching from independent contractors (ICs) to employees can be a challenging process to execute no matter what industry you are in. It is especially tough for the pet sitting and dog walking industry because they are often small businesses, they have limited funds, and little advisement or support from experts.

Luckily for you, that is where I come in. In an earlier blog, I told you about the major shifts in our industry. One of them is businesses switching the classification of workers from ICs to employees in droves. Many are afraid to do it. They don’t know what will happen or how to do it. Stick around until the end and I will help get you through that.

What If All My Staff Leaves?

switching ICs to employees for pet sitters and dog walkers

The first thing many people are terrified about is that their staff will all leave them. Many think that if they tell their staff they are going to be getting taxes taken out and that they will now be able to dictate when people work that the staff will leave them. Perhaps they are true ICs already, running their own business, have many other clients of their own, and don’t want to give that up!

All of this is a valid concern. If your staff leaves, you are left with many clients and no one to help service them. You are only one person. There are certain ways to make sure that this transition happens perfectly and specific things you should not do.

 

What If My Clients Are Unhappy With The Shift?

The only problem that would come up with the clients is if their pet sitter changed. (See above) If your sitter decided to terminate the contract with you and the clients had to get new staff members, that is just about the only reason I see clients getting upset with your decision to switch from independent contractors to employees. In reality, they would have to find another company anyways, so time to step up the “why trust us” game.

 

What If I Have To Raise Rates?

switching from Independent contractors to employees for pet sitters and dog walkers

Ah! This is probably the biggest concern percolating in your head! Most likely, you will have to raise rates. There are countless people I have advised that had to do just this. Basically, they were paying too much (I will discuss below) and charging too little so naturally, they needed to shift their client base and raise their rates.

The numbers don’t lie and a lot of people start out with my pricing structure and strategy class. This class helps you understand what you need to charge and how to have a strategy that ties into your goals. There is a good chance you might have to raise your rates.

That is, unless you want to be a non-profit.  🙂

What If I Have To Lower Pay?

This sounds so scary and it is! What do you do if you already know you would like to pay more and now the numbers are showing you that in order to achieve your goals you need to pay even LESS.

Ahhh that is scary and almost incomprehensible.
I know.
But trust me, it can be done.

I helped one gal switch from ICs to employees. Her clients went down. Her staff went down. Her prices went up and her profit was higher than ever before. In the end, we need to remember that this is not a popularity contest.

What If I Have To Wait For VRSP?

The Voluntary Reclassification Settlement Program is through the US federal government. If you submit a form and pay a small fine they will grant you employee status and not look at your prior years.

Did you know that audits can happen up to two or three years later?!?! So even if you were to switch from ICs to employees today… it doesn’t mean in a year from now you couldn’t get a knock at your door asking to explain your ICs from 2 years ago!

Crazy huh?

We All Need To Be Leaders

With all these problems, it is easy to stick our head in the sand and play ostrich. But guess what? If we want to be the best leader of our life and business – we have to face this fact. Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t going to get us anywhere and many, many, many states are cracking down and making it impossible to have ICs.

The benefits of having employees are that you can train them, you have more control, you won’t be scared of an audit, and YOU, the business owner, are protected because you are able to have all types of insurance. (Non-owned, worker’s compensation, general liability, etc)

As an established business, switching to employees is possible but you must have a plan.  You must know the steps you need to take and what it is going to cost you. You want to think about the big picture and know why you are doing it so it will help you get through the tough times. This is something that is tougher to accomplish the larger your company gets so if you are thinking about doing it, I would highly suggest that you do it sooner rather than later.

 

ICs to Employees webinar

Register Now – Tuesday May 21st @ 3pm

The Biggest Mistakes Dog Walkers Make On Facebook

Ah, good old Facebook! It is exploding with growth, constantly changing, yet our behaviors as marketers haven’t changed much. Many people talk bad about Facebook.

People think that you have to pay to play.

People wonder how to “crack the code” despite Mark Zuckerberg himself coming directly out and giving us a roadmap on how to succeed in Facebook Land.

Yet, many dog walkers still just struggle to get a good return on their investment.

 

The struggle is real.  Can you relate?

Social Media Strategist and Chat Bot expert Kelly Noble Mirabella from Stellar Media Marketing had this to say about all the changes:

“The talk about the newsfeed does have me thinking, and I think any business using Facebook should be looking for ways to “be the destination” as Bella Vasta has taught us, regardless of the newsfeed.

Like it or not there has been a MAJOR shift at Facebook this year. People have been let go or left after YEARS of working on Facebook.

For example, 3rd in charge at Facebook, Chris Cox, is now gone with no replacement in site. What’s more interesting is Mark’s big push to focus on stories, groups, and message (along with Instagram products). He is so focused on these things that most of the departments in charge of these aspects of the business report directly to Mark Zuckerberg.

Is the newsfeed dead? No.

Will, it ever go away? (NEVER SAY NEVER).

I think one thing we can rely on is change is in the air. How will you be adjusting your marketing to meet the challenge? My advice, focus on learning and adopting Chatbots (Messenger Marketing), Facebook Groups and Niche Communities, Instagram, and stories. But it is not enough to adopt them, you MUST create a destination where people will GO OUT OF THEIR way to consume your content.”

I love Kelly’s bird’s eye view on this “problem” that many of us feel when it comes to Facebook.

I agree with everything she says, especially that we must get out of this 2010 mindset. Things are changing and there is a new way to do things that will never have you scrambling.

But first, we need to stop with the mistakes.

These mistakes lead to frustration and wasted time and I don’t want that for any Jumper!

Here are the biggest mistakes I see some dog walkers making on Facebook every day.

Post Frequency is Too Little or Too Much.

Posting too little

If I were to go to your Facebook page right now, when was the last time you posted? If you didn’t post in this past week you aren’t posting nearly enough. You have to keep in mind that most clients go to your social media to try to visualize their pets in your care. They want to see what you are doing. The story your Facebook feed tells them will make or break potential clients checking you out. If they see that you aren’t very active, they will wonder all sorts of things.

Posting too much

It isn’t recommended to post any more than once a day. In fact Hubspot found in a study that posting more than two times a day dropped the respondent’s engagement by over 50%! When you post too much, it isn’t that it looks bad to the potential clients, but Facebook just won’t favor your page in the feed. I would keep it to once a day.

I loved what Andrew and Pete said about this at their keynote at Social Media Marketing World 2019. Here is an entertaining video they recorded talking a lot about this topic and what you should do:

The Content of the Postings Is Not Helpful

Straight From Instagram

If you are posting from your Instagram directly to your Facebook page, stop!!!

The way you tell stories on Instagram is very different than Facebook. Hashtags are different. Just forwarding posts over to Facebook from Instagram screams that you flat out don’t care.

Why send people to a Facebook feed when it is really just your Instagram feed? There is nothing unique or engaging in this. It can send a signal that you just don’t care.

Sharing Other Brand’s Content

You might see some content that you think is really interesting and want to share it.

I would caution yourself to think, “Is this helping my strategy?”

If the answer is no, then don’t post it. If you don’t have a strategy, then don’t post it.

Almost everything you post needs to lead back to your core message and strategy for your Facebook page.

Sure, occasional shares of a cute pet video are great. It might even get you a lot of likes. But, do you know the strategy around that? Do you know that there may even be a best time frame to post it that would help a future, more important, post from your brand

Only Sharing Pictures With No Story.

Facebook LOVES engagement and what better way to garner it than by telling a captivating story that hooks the reader in to participate somehow in your post?

Always be thinking of your audience and how you can help them. Don’t just post pictures, but tell a story about something that has to do with the picture when it was taken.

Wrong Calls to Action

Calls to Action (aka CTAs) are huge in every single part of marketing that you do. They tell your viewer WHAT you want them to do.

Chat Bots Done Wrong

Sometimes when I land on a Facebook page there is this spammy bot that pops up. It is more of a nuisance than anything else because I have to click it away so I can see your page. Unless you have put a strategy into your bot, I really wouldn’t allow it to pop up just because you can.

In The Cover Section

 

(This is a cover video from the Better Marketing with Bella program)

Video is key.

What type of impression are you making out the gate with the new viewer on your page?

Is your cover section a stale image from years ago that looked like your 10yr old son made it in middle school?

Or is it a beautiful video displaying the month of the year and all the dog inspired events or activities?

Which one says that you have time to devote to your business and wowing your clients?

Invest the time, or money, into beautiful cover photos or videos that speak directly to your audience and isn’t spammy.

Send A Message

There is a great spot on the top of every business profile on the right side that you can set as your CTA. Most say, “send message“. I would say you should have “contact me” on there. Just hover over the button on desktop and press the edit button. There, you can change it to whatever you want.

What mistakes are you making on Facebook?

Maybe you didn’t even realize you were making these mistakes. Maybe you wanted to ignore it. NOW is the time to make the changes and start seeing more success in your business.

If you are looking to REALLY rock your marketing plan, I want to invite you to join me in  Better Marketing With Bella. This is a six-month program that helps you rock your marketing with branded graphics, videos, emails, cover videos and more! You can learn more about the program right here.

The Top Mistakes Pet Businesses Make On Instagram

grow your instagram following

We live in a visual world.

We like to look at pretty things.

Our eyes are drawn to pictures and visuals…and all the social media platforms know this.

As pet business owners, this is exciting because what is more fun than posting pictures of sweet loving pets on Instagram? I mean we have it pretty easy, right?

Wrong.

Or at least I think we have it even tougher than most and I am going to tell you why. Most businesses I see stop at the cute pet face.  That’s it.  That is where they leave it but it does nothing to draw the viewer in other than showing that your company (or you) visits with lots of pets each day or week.

Did you know there are
500 million people on Instagram every day? 

According to Hootsuite here are some very exciting statistics:

71% of users are under 35 years old – hello millennials!
80% increase year over year for videos – stop thinking of Instagram as only pictures.
500 Million people use stories every day – are you using the story feature?
71% of businesses use Instagram – so if you think that your competition isn’t on there, you are wrong. But are they doing it RIGHT is the question? 
80% of users follow at least one business – Following a business on Instagram typically isn’t as intrusive. 
75% of users take action –  this statistic is huge.  How many things have you bought off Instagram? I know I have. They get me every time! 

And here is a statistic you can’t look away from. According to Marketing Dive,

71% of consumers want personalized advertisements and want to engage regularly with brands.

With statistics like this, how can you deny Instagram? Now because I am that fun loving, ever inspiring coach for you – I want to make sure you are not one of the “boring” brands out there. After all, there is no reason for it. I want to make sure you stop the scroll and the attention of the right people…. but before you do that – you gotta STOP doing this.

In no particular order:

Not Getting Local Enough

Every picture you post and every story you publish should always have a local location. It is how you will come up in the searches when people are looking locally. This can happen for your potential clients, your existing clients, other local businesses, and events around town. If nothing else, get in the habit of marking the local dog park on all your posts.

local instagram

You can also tag local people. Perhaps upon the new client sign up you can ask your customers if they are on Instagram and what their handle is. Then, when you upload a picture of their dog, you can tag them in that picture. This works as a notification and if you do it weeks after your service with them, it is a super way to subconsciously get on their radar again.

A pro tip: Most people think you have to physically be at the location in order to mark your location on it. You don’t. I have literally tagged locations in San Diego while posting from my living room in Phoenix, Az.

 

Not Using The Right Hashtags

I want you to think of hashtags like we did in the early 2000s when we were trying to find the right keywords for our website. Consider each Instagram post or story to be like a micro website or blog post.

Not using enough hashtags

Not using any hashtags won’t do anything for your post.

Using few too many (like three) won’t give you a fighting chance and often times aren’t even local enough to matter

Say you posted a picture of a golden retriever and used #goldenretriever.   Not to sound mean, but who cares? Well, except for that Golden’s parent of course.  That is going to do nothing for your business but if you use hashtags for the local dog park or landmark, or local festival happening that weekend, you stand the chance of getting more eyeballs and that coveted double tap.

 

instagram hashtags

Using highly competitive hashtags

Don’t make the mistake of using hashtags that only have millions of followers. What that is doing is entering your “lightweight” brand into the “heavyweight” championship. Think about it… if you are competing with millions of other people, what are the chances that your content will be shown?

Slim to none is the answer.

So don’t do it. Or at least don’t ONLY do that. A few hashtags that are hugely popular are okay but it is really important to not just only use those. Pick out some clusters about your business, about your area, and about local events going on.

 


Not taking the time to plan your content and material and plan it out visually.

Pictures that all look the same or have all the same things just are not going to be visually appealing enough for people to feel like you care. The effort you put into your social media is a direct message to your followers about how much effort you put into your business. Think about it as a consumer. They are judging you… so let’s help make it a good one!

instagram pictures

Not using filters

When you look at an Instagram feed and it just looks like a bunch of noise, you know the creator hasn’t thought out what they were going to post ahead of time and it was all very impulsive. As busy business owners, I know it’s hard to preplan all the time, so simple use of the same filter could also help this be achieved. But when you don’t use filters and you don’t have certain styles for taking pictures it just looks like a scrapbook. Keyword, “scrap”.

Again, we want to give an impressive opinion of our business just like we do on our website so think seriously before you post.

Posting the same thing over and over again.

When all you post is the close selfie shot of a dogs face, the only person who really cares about that is the parent of that dog. If it isn’t my dog, I don’t care.  I don’t ream to sound harsh, but it is the truth. UNLESS… you are telling compelling stories with each post, which many do not. So really think ahead of time about the topics that you want to display on your Instagram feed so when they come up in real life you can snap a picture.

instagram dog

Too much text, graphics, or reshares

Sometimes I see people only post quote after quote of stock photos where it doesn’t actually show anything unique. It is just other people’s words, or pictures, or warnings and again this does nothing for telling the message of the brand.

This screams you have no idea what you are doing. It is generic and doesn’t serve the business. So if you are one of those people who screenshots others graphics and then post them as your own… not only is that illegal but it also isn’t doing much for you.

Okay well maybe there is one exception – it is hilariously laughing out loud funny.

 

How Should I Plan and Post My Instagram Account?


Now, I wouldn’t be your coach Bella if I didn’t also offer you up a solution….
And today happens to be your lucky day.

My team and I have literally spent hours preparing this for you.  A webinar that normally would have a three digit price ticket on it – but I decided I am just going to GIVE it away to you for free. Here is what I am going to teach  you:

  1. How to create content
  2. How to develop your very own Hashtag Strategy
  3. How to engage with your audience
  4. How to amplify your reach in your neighborhood (without paying for it!)
  5. How to create engaging stories
  6. What Instagram success looks like and more importantly how to measure it!

pet sitting videos

2019 Social Media Strategy: Less Is More from #SMMW19

 

As I get back from Social Media Marketing World 2019 in San Diego, I wanted to bring a little of what I kept hearing the entire time – the importance of using video on Social Media.

It was pretty exciting because it basically validated everything I know and teach . . . but I thought I would use a mashup of what many influential people in the Social Media space were saying and bring it straight to you. Because, hey, that is what I am here for, right?

 

Before I dive deep into explaining what you should now be doing on Social Media, I think it is important to reflect a bit on the past – what I HAVE done… and what I see many of you still do.

I remember back in about 2016 (wasn’t even that long ago) the Facebook “game” was very different. With my coaching company (or even pet sitting company) I would post my blogs on social media and watch the hits to my website skyrocket! I would see them hit almost 500 hits a day and I would get a lot of engagement and interaction.

But, like I said, that was back in 2016.

That’s when posting links on your Facebook page still actually did something for you. It was starting to decline, but not as drastic as it did in 2017 and 2018 where organic reach is now basically on life support.

It was also during the “pre-gold rush” stage of Instagram so most marketers attention was still focused on Facebook.

 

Things have changed.

Things changed drastically when Zuck made the announcement back at the beginning of 2018 addressing the fact that Page engagement was going down. He said that we would start seeing even MORE of a decline in efforts to create “more meaningful engagements on Facebook” and they would only be rewarding those posts that were engaging, being shared, and where people were starting to have conversations with one another.

 

But . . .  what posts match those criteria?

Video.

This is why you have been hearing all about video over and over again.

There is a multitude of ways to do video, some more effective than others . . .  but gone are the days of posting a link to your blog and watching the graph spike that day.

 

Mari Smith said in her 2019 Keynote address at Social Media Marketing World that our posting should be:

70% Video, 20% Images, 10% Links/Status Updates.

Now, marketers (and business owners) have to work for it.

Do you see where I am going with this?

In Jump Consulting, we used to pump out two blogs a week. It was mainly to grow the website, answer questions, and get engagement on Facebook.

And it worked.

We have the most content out there than any other pet sitting or dog walking resource and it is constantly growing. But, I started to learn that a 500-800 word blog just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed less posting and more depth.

What we needed was LESS FREQUENCY of CONTENT and to spread it AROUND more.

What do I mean by that?

 

If you look through the Jump Consulting Page newsfeed you will see a LOT of videos.

We moved to this strategy over a year ago.

You won’t see us sharing as much curated content.

Sometimes, we don’t even post every day.

We have learned what the audience will react to and, more importantly, we know what Facebook will not react to.

 

 

During Andrew and Pete’s keynote at Social Media Marketing World, it was so hilarious as they scrolled through a feed of someone posting and posting . . . but they had no comments on their posts!

They were drawing the conclusion that we needed to observe what is happening and stop the meaningless posting just to do it. ?? It was great advice. Advice that we should all heed.

We took this advice over a year ago. As I mentioned before that instead of twice a week blogs, we moved to twice a month.

However now those blogs now have a Facebook Live, graphics, tweetable, and sometimes even an episode on my podcast.

It’s now taking one piece of content and really getting the most bang for our buck out of it.

And video is a huge part of it.

 

Mari suggests that video has these six elements:

  • Emotional – that is easy with pets, right?
  • Relatable – that means NOT perfect.
  • <30 seconds – short and sweet! People won’t watch long.
  • Designed for sound off – rev.com is great for getting captions.
  • Square – performs well but also fits on IG and FB so you don’t have to resize.
  • Mobile ready – over 50% are scrolling on mobile, NOT on desktop.

 

better marketing with bella

 

Pet Business Marketing

I was excited to hear her confirm everything I had been doing for the students in my Better Marketing with Bella program.

My ear is to the ground.

I am in private groups with people very close to pivotal people.

I stay on top of this stuff so you don’t have to.

You know what we did in 2019 with the Better Marketing with Bella program? We STOPPED giving people blogs . . .  and instead gave them outlines so they could do a FB Live and/or blog.

Then, we gave them MORE videos.

In our monthly calls, I teach heavily on how to keep maximizing their efforts and investment.

The results? Their engagement is through the roof. While others are getting hardly any engagement (likes, comments, shares) the Better Marketing with Bella crew is killing it.

One gal just got an opportunity at an apartment complex with 40 units as a result of her amazing Instagram strategy that we worked on.

Even though video is very easily made through many different apps these days, it takes a lot of time, attention, messaging, and brain power to think months in advance, and it’s exhausting.

Most say they will do it, but fail simply because it takes a lot of time.

Better Marketing with Bella helps and gives our students over 25 assets a month. We are giving assets that work. They are branded, they are relevant to the current social media times, and as a student, you have access to Bella, the expert.

With social media, less is more… which makes knowing WHAT even MORE important…. 🙂

P.S. Did you know that stories are getting seen 15X more than the feed? Yeah, our program helps with that too! 🙂

Apply now: www.jumpconsulting.net/bella-marketing

 

How To Automate Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business

Technology sure has grown since the start of this industry. In the 90s, we were doing everything with paper and pen.Paper schedules, our flip phones, if we even had that… and websites were just coming on the scene. Social Media wasn’t popular and the only real type of marketing and advertising was good old fashioned print mail.

Take a minute and think about this for a second. If you started a business in the 90s or even earlier 2000s, the way we get business and provide business has 100% changed since then.

Some might argue that it has gotten more complicated since then, but technology has actually made it so much easier to get instant data coming in and going out of your business that you can make real-time decisions. We can make pivots without waiting for publication cycles or a meeting with a bookkeeper.

Automation is something that many businesses need to adopt to make their processes run smoother. Proper automation could actually yield higher profit margins, while improper automation, or lack thereof, could really add to the stress of owning and operating a business and cost the business owner a lot of money.

 

Woman holding phone and coffee cup with words like "social", "tweet", and "network" coming from phone screen.

Today, I am going to show you all the ways you can automate a pet sitting and dog walking business.

Listen up! If you are a solo sitter, this is especially important because there is only one of you and you need to make every minute of your day efficient.

If you are in the process of building and scaling your business, it is even more important. You want to make sure you have as much automated as possible so when you hand the baton to an office manager they will have the most efficient workflow.

So here is the list, in no particular order, and how you can use it in your business.

GSuite: 

GSuite has so many advantages that your business can be using. First, is the email. Here, you can assign everyone their own email so that all the company info is sent to that email and when they leave the company it is all absorbed back to your company. If you do not do this, consider yourself to have a security breach where clients sensitive info is stored forever on someone’s email account.

Another advantage to GSuite is the ability to have canned responses. These are responses that you or your staff might type all the time, but being able to populate the message inside the email with one button really saves a lot of time. It also ensures that the messaging from your company is consistent.

Screenshot of Boomerang website, showing that you can add Boomerang to Gmail to send emails late and get email reminders.

Boomerang:

This chrome app allows you to schedule emails to send and also will remind you to follow up with other emails that you indicate. The beauty of this automation is when someone emails or calls you after your office hours, you no longer have to:

A. Email them back and break the boundaries of office hours essentially showing them that they can reach you at all hours of the night. 

B. Try to remember to reply to them in the morning and sleep with one eye open because you don’t want to forget. You know that feeling? Like something is hanging over your head?

 

Pet Sitting Software:

This might sound like a no-brainer but do you even know how many pet sitters and dog walkers are not using this the right way?  Make it mandatory that every client needs to schedule online. They need to update their notes online. They need to change their schedule or cancel….. make them do it all online! Make sure that your entire staff if using your software to the fullest capabilities. You can even turn on notifications for GPS in case some don’t arrive or check in at the right time and this has been a lifesaver and peace of mind to so many.

Loom website showing that you can record videos, sharing your computer screen, to send a message rather than using email or text.

The most common question I get asked around software is, “Which one should I choose?” It is a very personal question, but I think there are certain things you should consider:

1. Accounting

2. Customer service

3. Software updated?

4. Mobile version or app?

5. Communication

6. Credit Cards

More explanation about how to come to a decision on this here.

Loom:

This goes hand in hand with software. Whenever anyone has a question about the software (clients or staff), record a short video explanation. Loom is a free Chrome extension where you can record your screen. By doing these videos, and then properly naming them and storing them, this will allow your staff and clients the ability to make a difficult situation easier by way of the video. You could even create a video and add it to your FAQ on your website so it is at the user’s fingertips. This will also decrease the number of problems you have to solve.

Agore pulse homepage, a social media management tool allowing users to post to multiple social media websites.

Agora Pulse:

Ever struggle to know what software to schedule your social media? Agora Pulse really checks ALL the boxes. They post to every relevant platform, have a way for you to keep up on your social media notifications and inbox all in one place, and also will recycle your content so it never “dies” after you post it the first time. This is a necessity for any small business who wants to have a killer social presence. If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up right here for a free trial and 2 months free!

Screenshot of Payroll Experts website, providing payroll solutions for businesses.

If you get into the habit of batching your social media, you can do it all in 1-2 hours a month to set it and forget it. then you will be getting told that “I see you everywhere” when it really took minimal effort!

Payroll:

The thing I LOVED about working with Payroll Experts was that it was easy. Here is how this worked:

  1. My staff knew what days they needed to email me their payroll by.
  2. I would gather all the names and amounts and email it to my specialist.
  3. Done! The company took care of the rest and direct deposited it all.

Having a company take care of all the necessary payroll “stuff” is very helpful. Percentage change and laws change and honestly, there is just too much to keep up with. Certain forms need to be filed at certain times and when you can hand it off to someone to take care of, it will free up a lot of your time and headspace.

For a great company, take a look here

Credit Cards:

Did you know studies show that if you don’t see it, you will spend more money? It always makes me chuckle when people think credit cards COST money because they see it coming out but don’t realize that the mere fact of having credit cards will cause people to spend more with you… because they don’t see it! It happens all the time.

If you have a software system you can automatically set it to charge clients at a certain time or you can go in once a week and click, click, click, CHARGE…. and off it goes to your bank. Using credit cards saves SO much time over collecting the checks and going to the bank.

You won’t ever have to sit down and search through Paypal to see if someone paid you, be folding laundry to find that you WASHED the check that was in your jeans, or just try to keep track of the cash you have been given.

Sure, credit cards cost (typically less than 3%) but the time that you save and money made by not seeing it is astronomical.

Guess what? I have people that do this too. Email me if you want the hook-up!

JazzHR homepage, a website for tracking applicants and recruiting software.

Hiring:

Most hiring methods are de-funked and I get it. You have a lot of other things going on and when an applicant gets back to you it isn’t always easy to stop what you are doing and reply. Let alone understand what to say or remember which applicant you said what to.

It is difficult when you need an employee you have to post a job opening, then wonder if your hiring ad is good enough, and then find out if anyone applies… etc.

What if I told you over 70 pet sitters found the solution to that through automation and are using software to solve this problem?

Did you know the job market is shifting? Do you realize that people aren’t just applying to your job? Do you realize it is like dating and you have to appear attractive to them? What better way to do that then responding fast and having an entirely automated process? A company I work with (and sponsoring the retreat!) has done just that for over 70 pet sitting companies. I explain how here and you can get your own Bella hook up and discount here.

 

Quickbooks website with pricing for their accounting software for small businesses.

Quickbooks Online:

Most people I know have a bookkeeper because they understand that there are just too many chances to make mistakes that will take money out of your pocket at the end of the year. In order to get fast reporting, Quickbooks online is a must. Now, feel how you may about the company… but once it is set up the rest is really easy. AND if you have a bookkeeper this is something they can do for you. Having a bookkeeper and QBO allows you to get reporting fast because you don’t have to pass reports back and forth. It also allows your statements to be downloaded automatically from your bank and credit cards. I highly recommend this set up. It is what I do and I only have to look at my numbers when my bookkeeper sends me her monthly report and I have full knowledge of what I am spending money on, profit, cash flow, and what I can afford.

 

Project Boards:

Like Asana or Trello are great project management tools or even a great place to store a checklist with your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Here, your office staff (or you) can do a brain dump and organize the cards into categories that make sense to you. You can add people to the boards and you can share your thoughts and plans in an easy way.

Google Analytics:

If you don’t check this weekly, you are missing out. It will tell you how people arrive on your website, where they go, what they read, and even what you need to add to your website. This is a highly powerful tool and we actually have a lot of trainings on it in the Jump Mastermind. Plus, Google Analytics is free!

So as you can see there are lots of ways you can arrange your business to flow. In the end, it is all an individual choice but we have to understand that we need to use tools to help us because there just certainly isn’t enough time in the day to do “all the things.”

If you need help in any way, let me know in the comments below or in one of my free groups. I am here to help.

pet sitting facebook group

pet business hiring

Recruitment vs. Reactionary Hiring In Your Pet Business

One of my clients called me frantically last week. Two of her dog walkers quit on the same day.

She was freaking out. It was going to cause her to get back into the field and she knew that she wouldn’t have as much time to work on her business.

Ever feel like that before?

I know I have.

You get caught in the conundrum of feeling like you don’t have enough business to hire, yet if you don’t, you feel like you are living on the edge.

You know that if the perfect storm comes (and enough people leave the company at the same time) you will be back in the field just like my client above.

Hiring pet business

 

Today, I am going to help show you how to never be in this position.

How to stop that conundrum and take control over your business so you aren’t living in slavery to your business at the drop of a hat (or a resignation letter).

There is a major shift happening with hiring pet sitters; It is the difference between being reactionary versus responsive.

The ones who are acting responsively are scaling their companies at record times.

Allow me to explain.

Reactionary Hiring Happens Only When You Have To Hire. 

Reactionary Hiring is when you start posting ads because you:

1. Just had someone quit.
2. Want to hire someone to replace a bad apple.
3. You have so much work that you need more help.

This is hiring for a specific reason. You are only trying to fill the funnel when you have a need . . . which makes you already behind the eight ball.

 

When you are constantly behind the eight ball, it can lead to a lot of stress in your life.

You don’t get to consistently work through projects because you have to keep stopping to jump in and help get walks and visits covered.

And don’t even think about your social life!

You are the friend or family member who is always rushing off, never there, or too tired to attend.

And, you know what? You just can’t last longterm living like this.

Responsive Hiring Is What You Need To Do To Solve The Hiring Problem

Responsive hiring is when you’re constantly looking for great people to bring on your team.

You are always feeding the funnel by keeping your hiring ads fresh. You are constantly sifting through all the applicants and putting them into warm & hot categories.

How you organize this or keep track of these applicants is hugely important. You want to have a system that can track it all, sort it all, and not distract you in the middle of your regular working day. You don’t want to lose sight of all the good applicants out there- even if you don’t want to hire them today. You don’t know what tomorrow holds.

The important part is being able to recall all of the qualified applicants right when you need to and have the right type of software can help you with just that.

Are You Able To Email A Pool of Qualified Applicants Today?

Which one are you?

Ask yourself this:

Right now, are you able to email a pool of applicants that have already passed the first or second round of vetting for your company?

Are you able to ask them on a “date” (interview) and get them up and hired in the next week?

If the answer is no . . . and you have to start from scratch by posting an ad . . . then you are reactionary hiring.

This causes a lot of sleepless nights.

It causes anxiety that . . . “if one or two people quit on the same day… your business wouldn’t exist”

Feeling of helplessness when your office manager is telling you . .  . “I am posting all the time but not getting any applicants”.

It is like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are about to collapse!

 

This Is Why I Always Say…

This is exactly why I say to “always be hiring” and “hire more than you need,” because you just never know!

I have been there personally with my former company.

I have had the pit in my stomach, the worry, and as a coach I have been dreaming and searching for something I could pass along to you to help take all that fear and anxiety away.

sign up for jazzhr
I have seen vacations be ruined because the business owner had to stay back and take care of the business because they were understaffed. I have also seen business owners look forward to a dream vacation, spend a fortune, count down the days, only to spend the entire time working and putting out fires.

This is not why we started our own business and we must keep that in sight.

Getting ahead of the hiring challenge will help you to grow a business that you desire. It will help take you from solopreuner who really just has a job to someone who is the boss in charge that can multiply themselves for the masses.

To grow, to achieve your goals, you have to get really good at putting yourself out of a job. But in order to do that – you must have someone to replace you.

If you don’t figure out how to hire for your business you will eventually stall out. Don’t let this be you.

 

mastermind pet sitting

You Deserve To Be The Boss In Charge

I want you to think back to when you started this business. Why did you start it and at what point did it start running you? Staffing is 50% of the challenge that you will always have no matter if you are just starting or been around for 15+ years. You must stop trying to save the same problem again and again and start solving it systematically.

So what are you going to do?

Are you going to consider creating a process where you can have QUALIFIED applicants always on hand?

Over 70 pet sitting and dog walking companies have trusted my partner, JazzHr with their hiring needs and have been able to take charge of their business and their life because they now have control over the hiring challenge.

Whatever you choose, know that this is something you will need to address so you can take some of the stress away from running a growing business.

 

via GIPHY

 

Get a Jump Start with Jump & Scale

I am inviting you to attend my 3 part FREE webinar that will help you scale your business by attracting & hiring the right people for your business.

This program is ideal if you have high turnover, feel hostage or you just don’t know where you are going wrong in the hiring process.

To register for this FREE training (valued over $500!) go to JumpConsulting.net/scale

Jump & Scale Your Business

 

 

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

On more than one occasion I have gotten the question “How does blogging help me get pet sitting clients?” And while I have been blogging up a storm for years on how to do all of this, I realized I haven’t actually explained on a strategy level how blogging helps customers find you and how it converts them to pet sitting clients.

I have shown you Mark, a dog trainer, who ended up with so much business from blogging that he raised his prices. 

I have brought you the story on my YouTube Channel and on my podcast Bella In Your Business, of a man on the brink of bankruptcy in 2008 who started blogging and not only saved his business, but became a worldwide leader in his industry, which then lead him to make over 2 million dollars speaking all over the world about exactly how he did it. 

I also had the incredible Mike Alton on Bella In Your Business showing you how your local blogging can gain you credibility and expert status in your community. 

I even showed you what you need to do post publishing to make sure the most amount of eyeballs get onto your blog. Post publishing is almost as important as writing the actual blog. 

There have been numerous other instances… as I have over 200 videos, 500 blogs, and 130+ podcasts (at the time of publishing) but I have never actually directly answered “How does blogging get me clients” so let me explain. 

 

We Google Everything.

When you have a question you don’t know the answer to, where do you go?

Google, right? 

People ask google (or Siri or Alexia, etc) everything! We ask them on our phone. We ask them by typing in on our computers, and we even ask them by voice.

Search is something that has changed so much over the years and more and more questions are being asked, and less “search term + city” ENTER.  

People are looking for answers to their questions. Will you be the one answering them? I guarantee most of your competition isn’t doing it. 

There is a huge opportunity up for grabs. Will you take it?

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?
Girl hugging dog, while dog has it's nose to her cheek.

Content Marketing in 2019 is Like the Gold Rush.

This is still an untapped strategy that many are too lazy to adopt. Or, they lack the planning to actually execute.

In many communities YOU, my friend, can still stand out online. Imagine if you were trying to make a purchase and googling to learn more about the product or service. Typically people want to know the major questions: 

How much does it cost (in the area)?

What are the problems with the product or service?

How does it compare with others?

What are other people saying about it?

People will figure out the answers to their questions somehow and why not it be from you? You can be the one responsible for bringing the information that the people want. For that they will be grateful.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting/videos/2255916208012225/

 

When People are Grateful To A Brand It Leads to More Revenue

I want you to imagine the last time a company was super helpful to you. When they educated you or provided value in a way that you felt like you could trust and was unbiased.  

A super example of this is Hubspot. They have endless blogs, downloads, and even free software that you can download now all so you can get comfortable with the knowledge of sales and tracking the things they provide the tools for. They basically let you test drive their brand before making the investment. 

This ability that the consumer has to “kick the tires” is hugely powerful IF they can actually believe what the brand is saying. This will make the decision to reach into their pocket a lot easier and less stressful becasue they feel like they have gotten to know you. 

Repurpose & Upcycling Your Blog

Blogs are super for repurposing, or what my friend Brian Fanzo calls “upcycling”. This is when you take the content and chop it up, we use it and spread it far and wide. We also talked about this on the Bella In Your Business Podcast. 

get more pet sitting clients

Another advantage to repurposing is that different people frequent different channels. Some people might follow you more on one channel than another and by posting your content on more than one platform you can and will expand your reach. 

But I warn you, master one platform before you add another or it can get overwhelming. 

 

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

Writing a Blog and Then Chopping it Up Will Help You Upcycle 

For example a simple 1000 word blog might be upcycled like this: 

  1. Create graphics with your major points and share it on Facebook with a link back to your blog. 
  2. Create an infographic and tease it on your instagram feed. 
  3. Talk about it on your IG stories or FB stories and encourage people to go back and look at the article. (This is for your business and personal stories)
  4. Go live on your FB page talking about the article. 
  5. Go live in your Facebook group talking about the article. 
  6. Tweet about it. 
  7. Post it on your business page on Linkedin. 

In this day and age it isn’t about creating more and more content but using the content you do have and spreading it as far as you can. 

Think about spreading out pizza dough. It is the same effect!

The Bottom Line: 

At the end of the day, your customers will always have the same questions. They will get their answers, one way or the other.

It is all apart of the buying and decision making process.

What if someone was looking for a veterinarian in the area and they came across your blog about the Top 5 Veterinarian’s in CITY?  That was just one touch you made with a potential customer.

What if someone was thinking about using your services, and when they went to search for things like “how much does dog walking cost in CITY?”

Your blog was the one that kept coming up. It would subconsciously show them that you are showing up online.

That you are a trusted local expert. That you care enough to make your marketing shine, that must be a great indication of your work ethic. The very thing they are hiring you for!

Better Marketing with Bella

Still Not Sure How To Get The Most Out Of Your Blog?

I get it. Many people fall into one of three categories: 

  1. They hate marketing for numerous reasons. 
  2. They love marketing and always intend on doing more but really don’t ever get to it often OR (most importantly) consistently. 
  3. They love marketing and rock it on a daily basis. 

If you are #1 or #2 then I have a solution for you. It is Better Marketing with Bella where we provide you over 25 marketing items each month for six months. We provide videos, content calendars, graphics, emails… It is a six month program and we will be admitting those who apply and meet the criteria very soon. You can apply here.

State of the pet sitting and dog walking industry

State of the Pet Sitting & Dog Walking Industry 2019

State of the pet sitting and dog walking industry

 

Whether you are just entering into the pet sitting and dog walking industry or been here a long time like me (17 years!) I bet you wonder about the state of the industry and where we are headed.

You might wonder if all businesses are like yourself?

What the effect of Rover and Wag will have on the industry as a whole?

I bet you wonder if you are making enough?

Charging enough?

What the “industry standard” is and how you measure up?

Whatever the case might be, I see a major shift happening that no one is really talking about…

 

major shift pet sitting industry

 

I also want to know what you think as you read what I am about to write so please, comment below or on the original post and let’s have a conversation about where YOU think the industry is going and how we can help shape it.

But first… I must put out there that like attracts like.

With everything I will say, my findings MIGHT be skewed only because the type of sitters I have been lucky enough to attract are real go-getters. They are business builders, get knocked down 7 times and get up 8 types of people.

They fail and learn from it.

They aren’t paralyzed in fear and they tend to have a great group of support around them. They are about efficiency, processes, and systems.

So here I tell you – my thoughts and insights are shaped by these incredible business owners and what I have personally witnessed as possible.

They are my inspiration and hope for the pet sitting and dog walking industry’s future.

 

 The Consumers Are Changing From Baby Boomers To Millennials

 

pet sitting software

Tailchasers Inc killing it on their website. (Actual screenshot)

According to Mintel, pet owners are spending 86 BILLION dollars on their pets. When I first started in the industry the surge was from the Baby Boomer segment, now it is transitioning to Millennials. This is a very important change that is necessary for any pet business owner to acknowledge. The buyer habits and behaviors have shifted with technology and the independent pet sitter and dog walker need to take notice.

Did you know that 3/4’s of 30 something-year-olds have pets? While American’s might be holding off longer to have children, as many pet professionals know, pets are often the “first child” before settling down and having two-legged children. The consequence of this is a huge market share that doesn’t like to talk on the phone, wait for responses back, and loves to do everything on the phone. Passive websites are a thing of the past and the buyer journey has to include the buyer as an active participant.

This is a huge point that we need to understand. There is a major shift in the way people research and purchase goods and services and it is something every pet business owner should reflect on how they are shifting to this change.

 

Want to learn more about this change? 

How to Hire Millennials (podcast)
5 Things To Consider When Choosing Software For Your Pet Business (blog)
Cutting Expenses By Getting Pet Sitting Software (blog)

There Are A Lot Of Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses For Sale

 

One quick search on bizbuysell.com and you will see that there are many pet sitting and dog walking businesses all over the country up for grabs. I feel like I have a front-row seat because many investors call me and ask to help them evaluate the business they are interested in purchasing.

I see this trend happening a lot now for (what I believe) to be many reasons: 

1. With Rover and Wag making a splash… I see some companies that are just rolling over and giving up on the business. Believing that it is too hard and that they can’t compete.

(Which couldn’t be further from the truth BTW)

2. Our industry is growing up. No longer are we in the infancy stage like when I started my own company back in 2002. We are all grown up. Some business owners that started 10, 15, 20 years ago are ready to get out and as a result, they are selling.

3. The pet industry is booming and year after year becoming larger and larger. Investors see this and are willing to take $100K or $200K out of their retirement to purchase a business that they know they will make their money back in about 1.5 yrs.

4. Pet sitting and dog walking business owners are looking to scale fast and one of the best ways I see them doing this is acquiring other businesses. It is how Chunsoon Li, Randa Clark, Crystal Hammond, and Mark Shaver are doing it.

 

Want to Learn More About Buying and Selling Your Business?

How To Sell Your Business (podcast)
How To Find The Market Value of Your Pet Business (blog)
Everything You Need To Know About Buying and Selling Your Business (product)

Rover And Wag Have Entered The Room

 

This is one that excites me and here is why.

I know that as a pet sitting and dog walking business owner, you dislike all the irresponsible Rover and Wag pet sitters. It is undeniable the number of accidents and pet deaths they are bringing along in addition to undercutting some pet sitting businesses prices.

Although it is important to remember that not all of them are bad and there are some responsible sitters on those apps. In fact, if I were to start my business today… and not really known where to turn, I just might have listed my services on there too.

But here is why their splash is exciting to me and something for you to think about: 

1. They have raised $310.9M in ten rounds of fundraising. That is insane! What they can do with that money shows in their national print, TV, and social media campaigns. What they have essentially done is educate the entire USA about our profession and that we exist. I feel this is a major reason why our industry has spiked in the past two years. Like it or not, they have educated the market on what a pet sitter does.

2. Rover is a technology company. They have encouraged many professional pet sitters to get software of their own and whether anyone believes it or not, I really think they have helped raise the bar when it comes to the user experience and being able to “go digital” and sign up online.

Study after study shows that the user wants to be involved more and more in the process and Rover is giving that to them every time. Professional pet sitters are increasing this trend by allowing their prospects to sign up with them online and get a leg up on their social media by using video and all the incredible tools we have access to. I see a lot more professional pet sitters and dog walkers really caring about their social media presence and website now and really stepping it up notches!

Gone is the time of a basic Wix website that you create yourself for a top rated and performing digital storefront.

3.  Consumer behavior has developed into asking Google everything. Did you know one of the most popular questions  Google is asked is  “should I text him back?”

From “How much does a pet sitter cost in CITY” to “Pet Sitter reviews in CITY” I believe that Rover and Wag have gotten the public to think about this with their top rankings in most cities. They got the public to wonder about this and then they start researching online. Where I see some professional pet sitting and dog walking companies fall short is by not answering the Big 5 on their website.

Marcus Sheridan explained in great depth on my podcast, Bella In Your Business what the Big 5 are. One of my clients was able to take her brand new website from Barketing Blog and get to to the #1 spot of one of the most competitive markets in just a month because of this strategy I told her to use.

4. More people than ever are starting pet sitting and dog walking businesses.   Initial thoughts by the defensive business could be “Great! This means more competition, Bella.” Although if you realize that 6 out of 10 households have pets… there really is more than enough to go around and it fills the gap of those who need cheap pet care.

In the words of Michelle Obama… “When they go low, you go high.”

Ok, so that might not have been what she meant, but many startups do start very low and don’t have the impeccable customer experience that I know your business already brings. So in essence… this gives you a reason to have the top-notch prices in your area.

You also should keep in mind that only 50% of new businesses last more than 5 years according to the Small Business Administration, which helps add businesses to the selling market and goes to show that you shouldn’t be comparing your well-established business to that of a startup who probably isn’t even charging enough to stay in business in five years.

Everything is relative.

Want To Learn More About This Topic?

What Type of Pet Sitter is Best For Rover Websites? (blog)
What’s The Difference Between Rover Sitters and Professional Pet Sitters? (blog)
What Type of Insurance Does A Rover Sitter Need? (blog)

 

Regulations Are In Full Effect

 

A necessary evil that happens when something gains popularity, like the pet sitting and dog walking industry, is that it draws attention. Regulations are popping up all over the country making it harder and harder to just do whatever you want when it comes to your business.

  1. Minimum wage is going up in many states, therefore, affecting many overnight services.
  2. Accumulated sick day pay is happening in many states causing business owners to factor in this extra pay.
  3. Many cities are putting limits to how many pets can be under one roof.
  4. Some states are being required to pay for cell phone usage like California and Illinois.
  5. A massive tidal wave is happening where business owners are reclassifying their sitters from ICs to Employees. They are realizing that the safest way to grow is with employees, and the only attractive way to sell one day is with employees.

It is because of this interesting shift that we are working hard behind the scenes on a major project for all of you looking to switch from ICs to Employees in 2019.

Sign up to be the first to get the step by step instructions on exactly how to do this:

Get Notified When My IC to Employee Program Launches

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Pet Business Sales

Want To Learn More About This? 

Is Dog Boarding In My Home Legal? (blog)
Should I Switch From Ics to Employees? (blog)
Which Costs More? ICs or Employees?  (blog)
6 Steps To Switch from ICs to Employees (Freebie)

 

Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses Are Growing At The Fastest Rate Ever!

 

I have never seen pet sitting and dog walking businesses scale so fast in the 11 years I have been consulting. It is incredible how many people are acquiring smaller companies or lateral companies to grow their empire. They are accomplishing this a bunch of ways:

  • It is equally exciting to see people hiring multiple people at a time instead of just hiring one person at a time reacting to an open position they have in their company.
  • Another change I see is that when people move out of their territory, they are keeping their old territory and running it remotely while opening up a new one. Or, they don’t relocate but just open up a new territory to expand their kingdom.
  • Some members in the Jump Mastermind have hit their last year revenue by mid-2018 while others have figured out membership modules that are just increasing their profits.

It is really so exciting to see all the ways businesses are flourishing, despite what some naysayers might say about the tech companies.

 

The Use Of Software Is (and Will Continue To Be) at an All-Time High

 

Pet care companies that use software have the benefit of increased productivity, with their time being spent on the money-making aspects of the business instead of performing tedious and repetitive tasks. For larger companies, this can lead to the need for fewer office employees, while for smaller companies you may have more free time. Allowing clients to add their own information and schedule not only saves you time, but it also lowers the frequency of errors as the client immediately sees the same thing that the company sees.

Adam Smith, Co-Creator/Developer, Precise Petcare

 

To be taken seriously online in this industry you really need two things: A great website and that website to be connected to the software.

As millennials come into the largest buying power, they want to do things online. They want to have an experience online that solves their problems and doesn’t take forever.

I am happy to say that I am starting to see pet sitters finally invite the viewer into the process on their site. They aren’t just talking at them or creating an online brochure, but really speaking to their avatars, solving the unique problems, and inviting the viewer to take action that will make them feel like they are able to check “pet sitter” or “dog walker” off their never-ending to-do list.

Some are even starting to show-and-tell. They are finally starting to show the consumer the experience they will have on their cell phone when service is being provided. Whether this is IG stories, FB Stories, showing what the updates look like, sending a GPS map of the walk, only using GPS tracked collars… pet sitters are keeping pace ever-changing technology and it is becoming a real disruptor in their local markets.

 

pet sitting and dog walking industry

My Predictions for 2019:

  1. Companies are going to get even larger and things like benefits will become more and more talked about.
  2. The middle sized businesses will shrink slightly because they will get burnt out, stall out, sell, or on the opposite side… grow bigger.
  3. Companies will start to develop their own software apps specialized to their own companies and going outside the mainstream industry choices.
  4. More regulations coming down the pipeline for the proper classification of workers will be coming as our political climate continues to heat up, causing more companies to switch from ICs to employees.
  5. Online user experience is going to become one of the most popular selling features and is what will really start to set companies apart online. In the past it was a blog, software, or video… but this is all the “norm” so it will be important to have all that AND a great online user experience.

 

 

Pet Industry Dreams

How Can You Achieve All Your Dreams With No Sunlight?

 

We have all seen the experiment online where one plant was ignored and told negative things and another plant was given attention and spoken positive messages too… right? In this experiment, the negative comments plant wilted and the positive comments plant flourished.

Your brain and your business is the same exact way.

In order to achieve what you want for your business… you need to surround yourself with those positive comments. Surrounded yourself with people checking in with you daily and giving you encouragement and there to guide you. The pet sitting and dog walking industry isn’t going to get easier as it grows. It will become more cutting-edge, more innovative and larger. Where many used to strive for a six-figure company… more will be striving for a seven-figure business.

I am already seeing it happen and I am excited to be cheering you on.

Let’s do this together.

 

 

What Do You Think?

Comment below, I would love to hear what you think. Tell me what I might have missed, what your predictions are, or if you think I am off my rocker!  *haha* What has been your experience and where do YOU want to be in 2019 with your business? How do you plan to achieve it all and what changes have you seen in the industry?

jazzhr

Secrets To Success on JazzHR vs. Indeed for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

Hiring can be one of the biggest fears and challenges that I see pet sitters face on a day to day basis. This topic is for sure 50% of all problems that all pet sitting and dog walking businesses will face when trying to scale their business.

Bill Gelderman, from Orion Systems, says that “hiring shouldn’t be an event… it is a constant recruitment process” and I can’t agree with him more.

If you are a business that reacts and only attempts to hire a new team member when someone quits or you have too much business and need help then you will always be under your business and behind the eight ball.

In June, a company called JazzHR came into my life and promised to revolutionize how pet sitters and dog walkers solved the hiring problem. Their promises sounded too good to be true so naturally, my suspicions were raised and I put them to the test.

 

I had a few pet sitters try them out and the feedback was unreal.

 

I never saw the hiring problem solved at such a systematic way before:

 

 

JazzHR is a software that posts to 15 job boards and helps you keep everything in one place. No more sending back and forth emails and trying to remember what stage of the process someone is in. Jazz’ main job is to get your hiring ad seen by as many people as possible and then organize your recruitment process.

 

Even as so many pet sitters started raving about their positive experience with hiring qualified people fast, I started reading “JazzHR is just like Indeed” and really… it isn’t.

Is JazzHR The Same as Indeed?

In short, no. If you think that JazzHR is like Indeed, you don’t understand the truth behind what JazzHR can do.

It is sort of like asking if a bicycle is like a Porsche?

Sure, both platforms will get you the applicants, just as both modes of transportation will get you from point A to point B. Although the way in which it is achieved and the quality of the journey is drastically different. Indeed even tries to pull the wool over your eyes and make you think they are performing well for you, but that isn’t always the case.

 

jazzhr

 

1. What kind of applicants are you getting?

When you take a closer look at how Indeed brings businesses applicants you see that they have a matching feature which matches job seekers to jobs based on resume content and general questionnaires. This might work if you are looking for a software engineer, but not so much for a pet sitter or dog walker. It can also leave the business wondering:

  1. Did the “candidates” actually apply or were they matched
  2. Matched candidates might not be qualified for the job
  3. If they didn’t actively seek out your job, they may not be interested

Here is more about what Indeed says about their matching feature in their  Terms of Service 

1(d) Regardless of whether you are an Employer or Job Seeker, Indeed may use application materials (including resumes and responses to screener questions) to determine whether the words of any Job Seeker’s resume and answers to screener questions match the words of a Job Listing, and vice-versa. Regardless of whether you are an Employer or Job Seeker, you agree and consent that Indeed may differentiate those matching resumes and screener questions from those that do not match, and presenting them to Employers as matches or not matches.

In essence, customers perceive “matched” candidates as more applications, when in reality the candidates did not actively seek out the job and apply.

JazzHR Only Gives You Qualified Applicants, Indeed Does Not

Think about where you spend your time when you are interviewing and hiring. Is your mindset that it is a popularity contest and you are just striving to get as many applicants as you can or are you looking for the most qualified applicants?

With Indeed there is no filtering system as good as JazzHR. JazzHR uses your exact questions to know if the applicant is right for you and only shows you the ones that are qualified. So now you are spending your time looking at applicants that have already past through your screening process.

Neat, huh?

This being said, JazzHR can only be as good as the way you set it up which is why I recommend making sure you reach out to their support team… or even me… to give it a look over to make sure you are maximizing your efforts.

Spoiler Alert: I only recommend about 4 knockout questions.

jazzhr

Imagine which scenario would keep your morale up? Imagine if this could actually make you LOVE hiring? Or at least not feel like you were wasting so much time sifting through endless amounts of applicants? Having ONLY qualified applicants in front of you really does turn a stressful and depressing process into a happy one.

 

2. Save Time & Track Your Hiring Process:

Up until recently, I have seen two ways pet businesses have been moving people through the hiring process:

1. Through their own business email, writing emails back and forth. They spend time reviewing the thread, hemming, and hawing over how they feel about an applicant. Sometimes even looking back to review their file because they forget what they already asked them. They are writing every email by hand while thinking to themselves, “It is okay! it doesn’t that much time” 

2. They have a similar process as #1 above however they have gone through my Employee Quick Start course and have all the emails loaded as canned responses. Yet, they still struggle with remembering what the applicant said the entire process, finding the emails, and being interrupted throughout the day with the emails.

Both of these solutions take an enormous amount of time out of a business owner’s (or their management’s) day.

No wonder why no one likes to hire.

See what I mean here as I take you through the Phases of an actual dog walking online interview process.

 

In this video you will see how workflows can be used to streamline the entire hiring process. You can move people through 4 stages in one day if you wanted to. The applicant will be blown away and impressed at how professional you are and the process really commands respect for your position and business.

3. Moving Through The Hiring Phases Fast & Easy:

Traditional hiring is tough because you have resumes, cover letters, email exchanges everywhere and sometimes you don’t even remember who you are talking to or what they said. You have to search through email and while doing that almost always get side tracked.

Am I right?

With JazzHR you are able to upload your entire hiring process into their software so everything and everyone stays in the same place and you can see where they are in YOUR process. For those of you with staff that helps you hire, they too can see exactly what is going on with each applicant. (Especially helpful for those who might allow their staff to do the first round of interviews)

Take a look how a pet sitter does it here:

She has Phases to her interview process and it is as easy as clicking a button and moving them onto the next phase. The phases itself weeds people out and if you position the questions correctly, it will test them on your company values.

Example: You are looking for someone who would rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. To test for this, you can do a situational question in Phase 1 where you force them to make one of those decisions and explain why.

4. Interview Without Doubts On What To Ask Or How To Evaluate:

Many times we are rushing to a face to face interview.

Praying that the interviewee shows up and we are wondering what we might ask them? All the while really feeling stressed because let’s face it, we don’t feel confident interviewing. On top of all that, we feel pressured to make a decision to hire them or not, yet it is almost always based off our gut.  Never any real non-emotional mathematical equation.

interview jazz hr

Here is how JazzHR helps you to ask the same questions at all interviews and then be able to evaluate your applicants based off what is really important to you. No more stress, not knowing what to say, or who to hire.

 

JazzHR is revolutionizing the pet sitting and dog walking hiring process.

 

interview guide

More Things That JazzHR Can Do That Indeed Does Not:

  1. See how many people view your ad
  2. Post to more than one job board at a time with one click of a button.
  3. You can ask people questions while they apply and knock them out if they don’t answer the correct way.
  4. Sync your google calendar to invite them to an interview.
  5. Store your interview guides to keep all your interview questions neatly in one place and then rank the applicants. (See the picture above)
  6. You can track how long it takes you to hire an applicant. Is there a tipping point to when people lose interest in your job?
  7. You can also send job offers there and they even have a feature where they can electronically sign things (think application or job offer) where it all stays virtually.

There is so much data that can drive so many of your hiring decisions and as we all grow as business owners we know how important it is to make all decisions moving forward based off the data and not our feelings.

 

Jazz_Demo_3m from JazzHR on Vimeo.

 

Helpful tips and tricks for those of you who are signed up for JazzHR:

1. If you are on the Hero plan, use all three job posting slots that you have access to. Also, take their free webinar they just started offering.
2. If you are open the Pro or Plus plan… you have unlimited job postings. Use them and see which performs the best. Just make sure they aren’t the same title.
3. Job boards block the cute titles so make sure you have what you are looking for like “pet sitter” or “dog walker” and a short description like your area.
4. On the Hero plan, you have email support. They will get back to you fast. On the Plus and Pro plan, you have 2 one hour sessions to help you get set up. Use them!
5. On the Pro or Plus plan you get to choose from a big list of knockout questions I suggest. Use them 🙂
6. If you ever have any questions, just ask me. I am always here to help. Like seriously, I would be happy to go under the hood and give you my suggestions on improvement.

jazzhr

What Would It Mean If Your Hiring Problem Was Solved?

Today, if 2 people quit and you could just open up a program, press a button to initiate the interview process for people you already vetted…. how much less stress would you be under? How much would you now (all of a sudden) not CARE if someone quit because you already had people waiting in the wings?

It is like making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch 3 hours before the company or prepping most of the meal a few days ahead so it is stress-free the day of!

Yes, I just compared hiring to Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

Do yourself a favor and give JazzHR a fair shot. I promise you, it will really help solve a LOT of your hiring problems… if you use it right!

sign up for jazzhr

****

Disclaimer: I am a partner with JazzHR and I do get paid a small fee if you sign up… BUT as a user of Jazzhr myself, I would never recommend anything that I didn’t 100% believe in. To date, over 60 other pet sitters also believe in it and it has really helped them too. 🙂 (PS) If you click on any of the JazzHr links above you will get all the discounts and bonuses they have agreed to give to my crew. 

video gear

Video Gear for Pet Sitters

video gear

Many of you have asked for recommendations on what to use to start shooting your video. Rather than make a purchase and wonder if it is the right one, I thought I would give you the list of products I have bought and use. Enjoy!

Please Note: The links on this page are affiliate links and therefore earn me a commission. Thank you for your support.

 

video gear

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera

 

video gear

Camera Microphone: Nikon Canon DSLR Camera Shotgun Microphone

 

video gear

Camera Microphone: Rode VideoMic With Fuzzy Windjammer Kit

 

video gear

Microphone: BOYA BY-WM4 Universal Lavalier Wireless Microphone

 

video gear

Camera Lighting: Neewer Camera Photo/Video Fluorescent Flash Light

 

 

ring light

Phone Lighting: B-Land 5.7″ Ring Light With Tripod Stand

 

video gear

Phone Lighting: Auxiwa Clip-On Selfie Ring Light

 

 

mount

iPhone Mount: DaVoice Cell Phone Tripod Adapter

 

 

video gear

Phone Mount: Car Phone Mount – Cell Phone Holder For Car Windshield

 

video gear

Camera Tripod: AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod

 

video gear

Phone Tripod: KobraTech Cell Phone Tripod

 

 

battery

Battery: iMuto 20000mAh Portable Charger Compact Power Bank External Battery Pack

 

video gear

Adapter: Lightning Jack Headphone Adapter Charger

microphone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microphone: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

jump & scale

Over 6 Hours of Trainings and Recordings For You This Week!

I’m not lying when I say that this has been one of the most exciting weeks here EVER at Jump Consulting. I have so much going on… being created for YOU that I almost feel like how am I ever going to be able to TELL YOU all about it. I am about to do my best below….

Please, tell me what you think about it all. I want to know!

 

Jump & Scale

Over 90 Jumpers showed up for my FREE 3-Part Jump & Scale webinar where I taught you how to write killer job postings, attract the best candidates, and hire the right people. I can’t express enough how much I loved getting to teach on this topic and (hopefully) inspire you to always keep hiring!
If you missed out, have no fear. The replays of the video will be coming today (yes, today!!) and if you missed out, you can access them right now by signing up at jumpconsulting.net/scale.
Now here’s what else is happening this week…

 

Better Marketing With Bella – 2 Spots Left

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve opened up 2 more spots for the wildly popular Better Marketing With Bella Program. Imagine having your marketing 100% handled for the first half of 2019. Think about all of the OTHER things you could be working on in your business. Every month you will receive videos, outlines, emails, graphics, and so much more delivered to your inbox.

Will this be the year you take back your marketing? Apply Now: jumpconsulting.net/bella-marketing

 

PODCAST: Relationship Marketing & Buyer Personas

This week I had the INCREDIBLE Jessika Phillips on the podcast, and I know your mind is going to be blown when you listen to this episode. We’ve talked about content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing and more… but this week the focus is all about relationship marketing. If you feel like you have trouble getting inside the mind of your client and really understanding what they want from YOU, then you have to listen to this episode. Check it out here.

 

T-Shirt Tuesdays: How To Get Consistency With Employees

 

This week’s T-Shirt Tuesday is brought to you by Allison Muggli of Pets Domain ATX (thanks girl!!) and we’re talking all about how to get and retain consistency with your employees. Do you feel like your employees get sick a lot, call out, or take a lot of time off? Well, you’ll want to watch this week’s 3 minute video to learn how you can put a stop to that real quick 🙂 Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting/videos/340122153213926/

 

Bella Was Interviewed On 2 Podcasts

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed on not one, but TWO different podcasts! I can’t tell you guys enough how fulfilling it is to share my stories with so many different audiences and inspire them.  If you have a few minutes this weekend, check them out and let me know what you think. On the one with Jay, I really get into some motivating stuff…

 

That’s it for this week! Is there anything I can help you with? Just shoot me an email at bella@jumpconsulting.net

Always Keep Jumping,

 

october blog or video ideas

4 October Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas

 

Happy October! It’s finally starting to feel a lot more like Fall. The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and Halloween is coming up. As a business owner, this month is a total gold mine in terms of content creation. I mean, who doesn’t want to look at photos of dogs in costumes?? Let’s a take a look at a number of pet sitting October blog or video ideas that you can use this month…

4 October Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas

 

1. Holidays – Halloween!

As I mentioned earlier, Halloween is one of the best holidays for marketing your pet business. People absolutely love to see dogs, cats, and other furry critters dressed up in spooky costumes. Alternatively, many people aren’t aware of the dangers that chocolate and candy can pose to our fur-babies, so Halloween can be a great time for teaching. Here are some blog or video ideas around Halloween:

  • Should I Take My Dog Trick Or Treating With Me On Halloween?
  • Top 10 Spookiest Costumes For Your Dog On Halloween
  • What Happens If My Dog Eats Chocolate On Halloween?
  • How To Reduce My Dog’s Doorbell Anxiety On Halloween

The list goes on and on!

 

2. It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Fall

Weather is a great topic to write or talk about, because many pet owners are not too sure how to care for their pets when the weather changes. Since October is typically cold and windy, you can write some blogs  (or make videos) educating your clients on how they can care for their pets during the Autumn Season:

  • What Should I Do About My Dog’s Fall Allergies?
  • Can Pumpkin Be Harmful For My Dog?
  • Is It Safe To Walk My Dog At Night?
  • What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Fleas/Ticks?

These are just a few ideas, but if you think on it a little while I am sure you’ll come up with more interesting questions worth answering! If you have a good question, research it and then blog about it!

october blog or video ideas

3. Fall Games & Activities

If you live somewhere that’s very hot, most of you clients were likely not taking their dog outside much during the Summer. Now that it’s starting to cool off, it’s the perfect time to start getting Fido back into an exercise routine!

Try searching the Internet for games that dogs and their owners can play outside, such as hide-n-go seek with a treat. Compile a list! You can even write or talk about the best hiking trails in your area, outdoor pet-friendly cafe’s, or dog parks. The list is truly endless.

better marketing with bella

4. Don’t Forget About The Pet Educational Themes Of The Month

There are quite a few interesting topics you can talk about for October. Consider exploring one, two, or all of them if you prefer!

  • National Pit Bull Awareness Month: Write a blog or make a video educating about the stereotypes attached to pit bulls.
  • Adopt-A-Dog Month: Discuss the considerations for adopting a new dog or adding a new animal to the home.
  • Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month: Talk about the benefits of rescuing a shelter dog, or other ways people can help even if they can’t adopt.
  • National Animal Safety and Protection Month: Educate your audience about the different ways they can ensure their pets safety.

I hope these October pet sitting blog or video ideas are helpful to you and are able to give you some inspiration. If you are a pet sitting business that DOESN’T have a blog – it’s never too late to start.

If you choose to write about any of these topics – be sure to post a link to your blog in the comments section so I can read it. I want to see where your creative minds take these ideas!

 

 

 

hurricane florence pet friendly shelters

List Of Hurricane Florence Pet Friendly Shelters

Hurricane Florence is heading straight for the Carolinas. As you will see from the weather report below, it is a very serious storm and one that isn’t going away for a few days. It is anticipated to stall out on the coast and have effects throughout the weekend. The right side of the hurricane is where you will see the most tornados pop up. Please listen to Meteorologist Jennifer Watson’s advice in the video below.

This post will be updated as we get new information. Please verify all data as information changes by the hour.

Pet-Friendly Shelters for Hurricane Florence

Update: Maryland Opens 2 Pet Friendly Shelters

University of Maryland College Park (Ritchie Coliseum)

7950 Baltimore Avenue

College Park, MD 20740

 

Chesapeake College

Health Professions and Athletics Center

1000 College Circle

Wye Mills, MD 21679

North Carolina

 

Brunswick County

West Brunswick High School. 550 Whiteville Rd. Shallotte, NC

Carteret County

No shelters are open in this county due to the mandatory evacuation order. People evacuating from this area are encouraged to seek shelter at Knightdale High School (100 Bryan Chalk Lane, Knightdale, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.

Craven County

Ben Quinn Elementary (cats and dogs only, opening Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.). 4275 Martin Luther King Blvd. New Bern, NC

Duplin County

James Kenan High School (opening Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.). 1241 Nc 24 & 50 Hwy. Warsaw, NC

Hyde County

No shelters are open in this county due to the mandatory evacuation order. People evacuating from this area are encouraged to seek shelter at Knightdale High School (100 Bryan Chalk Lane, Knightdale, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.

Onslow County

The nearest pet-friendly shelter is located in Jacksonville at Jacksonville Commons Middle School (315 Commons Drive South, Jacksonville, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.

Orange County

Smith Middle School. 9201 Seawell School Rd. Chapel Hill, NC

CW Stanford Middle School. 308 Orange High School Rd. Hillsborough, NC

Pamlico County

Pamlico Community College (pets with current proof of rabies vaccinations only, opening Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.). 5049 Nc 306 Hwy. Grantsboro, NC

Pender County

Burgaw Middle School. 500 S. Wright St. Burgaw, NC

 

South Carolina

 

Berkeley County

Cane Bay High School. 1624 State Rd. Summerville, SC

 

Colleton County

DuBose Middle School (opening Sept. 11 at noon). 1005 DuBose School Rd. Summerville, SC

 

Dorchester County

DuBose Middle School (opening Sept. 11 at noon). 1005 DuBose School Rd. Summerville, SC

 

Marlboro County

Blenheim Elementary/Middle School (pets will be provided a separate area of the shelter but must be kept in a carrier, opening Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.). 143 Highland St. Blenheim, SC

 

Relief

 

North Carolina

 FEMA: As of Monday evening, the emergency agency had positioned more than 80,000 liters of water, 402,000 meals, 1,200 cots and 34 generators at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina.

 

South Carolina

FEMA: Both Fort Bragg and North Field Air Base near Columbia, South Carolina, are serving as “incident support bases” to distribute more supplies, including meals, water, blankets when needed. And FEMA teams have been sent to both states where they will serve as “rapidly deployable assets, with expertise in operations, logistics, planning, and recovery.”

 

Advice for Pet Lovers from Meteorologist Jennifer Watson:

  • Current radar shows as of Tuesday Sept 11 2019 2pm EST
    hurricane florence pet friendly shelters

     

 

Information has been compiled for you by Bella Vasta a pet business consultant. If you are a pet business owner, join her free Facebook group for a community of pet business owners looking to grow their businesses