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How To Know If You Should Promote From Within Or Hire From The Outside

How To Know If You Should Promote From Within Or Hire From The Outside

You have grown your staff of pet sitters and dog walkers, but now you need internal back-office support. Now what? You’re probably debating on how to hire and thinking that you’ll just pull one of your pet sitters/dog walkers out of the field, that’s already working for you, and promote from within as an administrative assistant.

But is that really the best way to hire? Today we’re going to compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of promoting from within versus hiring from the outside.

A really good book on this topic that I highly recommend is Powerful: Building A Culture of Freedom & Responsibility. Check it out! 🙂

 

Defining The Job Duties

Before we can start thinking about hiring an office assistant, we first need to pinpoint exactly what duties this person would be taking over from you. From there, we can then consider who would be right for the job.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a perfect “avatar” in your head, which essentially outlines exactly the type of person that you want to hire. Think about these details when creating your avatar:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they in life?
  • What are their skillsets?
  • How many hours are they looking for?
  • How much work are they looking for?
  • Do they work in the office? Or remote?

Once we have our avatar clearly defined, the next step is to create a job description based on our avatar and the job duties that we identified. Don’t just make one description – we will want to make a few different job descriptions to test what actually is working and what isn’t.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a one-time thing. You will have to hire for this position again and again and again. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find the perfect person that works for you for a year, but the key is to think about making this an easily replicated process so we don’t have to continually invest our own time and energy.

 

Hire for Attitude

Are You Actually Ready To Hire?

Before you start hiring, it is absolutely critical that you have workflows and SOP’s (that’s standard operating procedures) created so that your new hire has guidelines and processes to follow. It needs to be all written out because employees can’t read our minds (as much as we would like them too!). The key is to transfer all of the valuable knowledge in your head to paper so that anybody can read it and follow the procedures step-by-step.

For help with this, consider reaching out to Liz Illg, a good friend of mine and a master at creating workflows/SOP’s.

 

bella vasta liz illg

Consider & Evaluate Backgrounds of People On The Team

Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to promote from within, I am totally on-board with that. The point I’m trying to make is that we need to carefully consider why you are choosing to promote from within versus hiring from the outside. What might be the easier choice, may not always be the best choice for your business.

Do you have a person on your team that just recently graduated from school and is very eager to get started in the workforce? Or maybe the employee you have in mind is someone that has been bouncing from job-to-job, is unfocused, and all over the place.

The truth is that most of the time, dog walkers & pet sitters are not a good fit for administrative assistants. They do a super job in the field, but that doesn’t always translate to the office.

 

 

JazzHr for pet sitters

 

We also have to carefully consider if we want to take them away from the excellent job they are doing as a pet sitter/dog walker. Or, maybe they are doing such a great job in the field, and the office is a better work environment for them.

The only way to really know is to create a series of assessments, also known as a “hiring gauntlet,” to see what their real skills are. Maybe they have a background in administrative work? Or maybe they just really understand what it takes to stay organized?

Also think about if this person is strictly going to follow directions, or if they can take initiative. Are they going to be able to pick up whatever you throw at them and run with it, or do you have to hold their hand? Are they a forward thinker and a go-getter?

I know it’s a lot, but all of these things are so important to consider 🙂

As business owners, it’s easy to get into the mindset that we want to promote from within because we love our staff! However, we also have to have careful consideration when it comes to evaluating skill sets and how the transition would affect the business by shifting the employee’s duties from one “department” to another. The key is to make this determination from a scientific mindset, not an emotional one.

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

 

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

 

As business owners, we spend countless hours per day dealing with all things staff. This could range from hiring and training to just answer staff questions through phone calls or text. Managing your staff is a never-ending routine, and I see it leading to burnout all too often. Maybe you’ve even had one of these thoughts cross your mind recently?

 

“Why don’t my staff just know how to do their job?”

“I cannot believe my staff didn’t know how to do XYZ”

“Are they really calling me about such a stupid question?”

“Why don’t my staff have any common sense?”

 

There are a few potential reasons why you and your staff are having this disconnect. First, your staff may not know how to find the information. Or, perhaps maybe they lack the confidence to do what they think is the right course of action. Perhaps they know the answer, but they’re so afraid of upsetting you that they just aren’t 100% sure.

Today we’re going to explore a few proven methods for how you can ensure that your staff is retaining your training materials, which will ultimately build their confidence within their role while freeing up time for you! 🙂

 

Testing & Training

What type of tests do you have for your staff? There are many kinds of tests, but some of the most popular are in-person, written, and on-the-go.

A popular method that I’ve always recommended (and used in my own business!) is to give newly hired pet sitters a written test during their orientation. My pet sitting employee handbook and training manual used to be 60+ pages long, so it really wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to expect them to remember every piece of information on every page. That’s where my 10-question written test came in – to help hone in on those key areas I really wanted my staff to remember.

 

Employee Handbook and Training Manual

 

Another type of test, the in-person test, is perfect to use during training and ride-along. Having a newly-hired pet sitter aimlessly shadowing can be overwhelming without a clear sense of direction. It’s important to be realistic and understand that the human brain is really good at retaining a few pieces of key information, but isn’t always so good at remembering all of the tiny, minute details.

One way to really drive home those important hitters is to come up with a “10 Point Visit Checklist” or something similar that you can demonstrate and walkthrough during your training visits.

Last but not least – testing is not only reserved for new hires! A great method to use for seasoned employees is testing-on-the-go. When you’re asked questions, try to refrain from just feeding them the answer.

I know that can sound a little strange, but always answering every single question point-blank can hurt your staff more than it’s helping them. You want to encourage them to think critically and teach them how to find the answer themselves, instead of reinforcing the idea that you’ll serve as an open-book of information.

 

Check out this example:

Pet Sitter: I need some help – I’m currently at a client’s home and I don’t see one of their cats. What should I do?

You: That’s a great question. What do you think you should do?

Pet Sitter: Well, first I think I should fully search the house, including all potential hiding spaces. Maybe then I can bring out some treats to try and entice the kitty to come out.

You: Perfect – give that a try first and let’s see how it goes 🙂 

 

See how much more fruitful that is for your staff? You allowed the employee to think through the problem and come up with the solution themselves, instead of you telling them outright.

 

Onboarding

Here comes the big question – how often within 3 months are you reusing your training materials? That’s right – I’m looking at all of the people who whip out their employee handbook/training manual for orientation, only for it never to be looked at again by your staff.

I get it – being a business owner is busy.

However, it’s really important to get away from the mindset that training is “one-and-done.” Training is an ongoing, never-ending learning process, so we want to make sure you are consistently reintegrating your training materials into your staff’s routine.

Let’s take a step back and do some thinking.

How many staff meetings do you have per month, quarter, or year? Of these meetings, how big/small are they? Are they mandatory, expected, or optional? What kind of meetings are they? Are they meetings over a meal, or a group Zoom call? How do you communicate with your staff? Do you use email, texting, or Slack?

Take some time to really think about these questions and determine what you’ve found to work and what you’ve found not to work.

To help with this, Liz Illg, pet business powerhouse, and myself are coming out soon with a brand-new series of 12 professionally-shot videos that you can reuse again and again for staff meetings. Stay tuned for more information on this project 🙂

 

Ways To Learn Your Training Info

It’s also important to recognize that people learn in all different kinds of ways. A one-size-fits-all approach is just simply not effective for ensuring your staff retaining your training information. In fact, research shows that there are 7 different learning styles:

  • Visual/Spatial: Using images or visual cues to process information.
    • Examples: Pictures, videos, and demonstrations.
  • Auditory/Musical: Responding primarily to sound
    • Examples: Audio recordings or audiobooks
  • Verbal/Linguistic: Learns under both verbal instruction and through writing.
    • Examples: Handbooks, training manuals, and tests.
  • Physical/Kinesthetic: Going through the motions of what is being learned.
    • Examples: Hands-on training, ridealongs
  • Logical/Mathematical: Learns through understanding the reasoning behind content and skills.
    • Examples: Dog/Cat behavior guides
  • Social/Interpersonal: Natual group workers that are engaged with others and love working within teams.
    • Examples: Group training sessions and activities.
  • Solitary/Intrapersonal: Individuals who prefer to learn on their own and keep to themselves.
    • Examples: Employee Handbook/Training Manual self-study

It’s important to understand and keep these different learning styles in mind so that you have training content that can meet the needs of any type of learner. A great start is to implement video training within your pet sitting business.  and to develop an employee handbook/training manual.

 

Ask Clients

Another way that we can make sure your staff is retaining information is to simply ask your clients! Here are a few questions that can help:

  • How clean was your house when you returned?
  • Would you recommend us to your neighbors?
  • Was your dog visibly tired after his/her walk?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how safe do you feel with us coming and going from your home?

On one hand, it makes clients feel good that their opinion matters and on the other hand, you are obtaining valuable feedback. Don’t feel pushy asking for feedback! If you do it on a regular basis, it will come to be expected and your clients won’t mind at all 🙂

Overall, pouring into your staff and a fun and resourceful way, not in a dominating way, can go a long way towards training retention. It’s important to recognize that training is not just a 2-hour orientation, but an ongoing process that’s implemented into your long term plan with employees.

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How to Make Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Applicants Fall in Love With Your Business

One of the most challenging aspects of running any pet sitting business is the hiring process. Not only are you looking for those who align with your values and mission, you are trying to convince people why they should want to work for you! Many business owners forget that hiring is a two-way street. In fact, it’s much like dating: hiring is about people loving you as much as you love them! 

Below are five tips that all employers need to understand.

  1. Update job description wording
  2. Start asking different questions
  3. Create a shorter timeline
  4. Add extra touches
  5. Give visuals

Remember, the hiring process should be exciting for both hirers and applicants. Many hiring managers and employers complain that applicants don’t get back to them– chances are you just need a little help in the application department.

Pet Sitting Applicants

Update Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Job Description Wording

When you’re looking to fill a pet sitting position – and any position for that matter! – wording within your job description is crucial.

Remember, looking for a job can be really tedious and depressing for people. It can be exhausting sifting through help wanted ads, especially when so many ads simply list what people should be doing or what they need to have.

Try and make your job titles and descriptions more fun and off the beaten path.

Don’t be afraid to use a more conversational tone, like, ‘hey girl, imagine this!…’. 

Descriptive words paint a visual picture, making prospective hires much more interested in you than the sea of more robotic job descriptions. Looking for pet sitters?

Let them know, ‘this is a job you’ll never want to let go of because you’ll be out in the sunshine with dogs!’

Let the personality of both you and your business really shine through. Don’t know where to start? My advice is to record yourself talking about who you’re looking for and what you want out of a new hire. Then you can write down the words you actually want to convey!

Start Asking Different Questions

During the hiring process, there are tons of questions – from the job application itself to the actual interview.

Of course, you’ll have to address the more standard (boring) questions like, ‘Do you have a car?’, ‘Do you have insurance?’, etc.

But, again, don’t be afraid to have fun with your questions!

Ask applicants why they think your job would be the best job ever, or why they stopped scrolling and made the decision to apply. For a pet sitting gig, you may even ask a fun questions like, ‘What’s your favorite dog breed?’ 

Also, don’t be afraid to break up the interview process into phases.

By the time you get someone in front of you, you should already know a lot about them. But that’s only possible if you ask the right questions beforehand. Of course, you don’t want your job description and application to have five pages of questions– break it up into five interview phases instead!

Create a hierarchy of needs for your business; is it really important that someone is a caretaker? Then ask about responsibility and showing up on time. By now you’re in the third or fourth phase of the interview process and can really dive into the nitty gritty!

Applicants

Create A Shorter Timeline For Applicants

The hiring process can be quite lengthy if you don’t have all your ducks – err, dogs – in a row!

You want to make sure the time it takes you to get applicants through the process is short but along. What I mean by that is you’ll want to have a workflow set-up into phases. But make it simple for someone to move through them – for example, a person can move from phase one to two with just the click of a mouse depending on their responses.

You don’t want to waste time with applicants who aren’t the right fit, so be sure to get them through these phases first. Really think about them ahead of time; it’ll be time consuming but, in the words of author Steve Kamb, “we all start at suck.”

When you meet someone face-to-face, you should be armed with as much knowledge about them as they have about your business– but don’t drag this process out. If it’s more than a week, it’s too long. People are not going to wait around for you and will simply find another pet sitting job.

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Add Extra Touches – Little Things Matter!

If you want to stand out from other employers, you’ll want to make applicants feel special throughout the hiring process.

Whether it’s buying a cup of coffee if you’re meeting face-to-face or using a feature where you send a follow-up text after they’ve submitted an application, there are so many small things that can make a huge difference!

Remember, people are applying to a lot of jobs and you want to think of little things to help applicants along the way to show that you’re an employer who really cares. If you’re meeting via Zoom, something as simple as sending instructions via email beforehand to make sure the applicant is all set can be a game changer. Even the most qualified applicants can get nervous before interviews, so this is a neat way to ease a bit of stress.

Dog Walking Applicant

Give Visuals

Applying for jobs is a bit like blind dating – even with the job description and interviews, you may still be unsure what you’re getting yourself into.

When you think about hiring someone, consider showing them what a pet sit looks like. Instagram stories can be great for this. Create highlight reels for pet sitting, dog walking, cat sitting, etc. and send applicants links to short videos. This will give them much more insight as to what they can expect when working for you. Consider having a staff member speak on camera about why he/she loves working for you. 

You Be You, Boo!

There are so many ways you can make pet sitting and dog walking applicants fall in love with your business.

Remember, there is no exact formula you need to follow – stay true to your business and your brand when writing job descriptions.

Keep your tone more conversational and be quick to respond to any prospective hire’s questions, comments, or concerns. If they know you truly care, they’ll be that much more eager to accept a position at your company!

 

mastermind pet sitting

Episode 177: Staying Compliant with Staff In Your Pet Business – The Best Kept Resource!

Today I want to share with you the best-kept resource in staying compliant with staff in your pet business. The Pet Industry Coalition is an organization dedicated to educating and advocating for the regulation and compliance of the Pet Industry. To tell you all about it, I’ve brought on two of the four co-founders, Lauren Cora and Katie Pape.

Compliant with Staff

Lauren is the owner of Dogs Deserve It, a dog walking company based out of Chicago, IL. Dogs Deserve It recently celebrated 10 years of service and has over 55 employees.

Staff in Your Pet Business

Similarly, Katie’s business Windy City Paws, is located in Chicago and has been in business for 10 years now. Katie has over 75 employees.

 

Biggest Take Away You Don’t Want To Miss

With the pet industry being a rather unregulated business, staying compliant with staff in your pet business can be difficult. Thus, the Pet Industry Coalition was developed. Through the coalition they work to ensure businesses are aware of the differences between independent contractors and employees, as well as, the consequences of misclassifying staff.

 

Show Highlights

  • The start of the Pet Industry Coalition [5:02]
  • Mission of the coalition and who it’s for [8:18]
  • The difference between an employee and an independent contractor [9:20]
  • What to expect as a member of the Pet Industry Coalition [17:02]
  • The consequences of misclassifying staff [25:40]Pet Industry Coalition

Links

Let’s Connect!

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’’

 

Liz Illg Headshot

Episode 175: How Your Pet Business Systems Save Your Profit

I want you to think of all of your pet business systems. Now, think about a time where maybe you told your staff to do something and gave them all of the direction needed to do it but for some reason, they didn’t do what you wanted them to do. Do you know what caused the problem?

Today I brought on a very special guest, Liz Illg, to share the importance of systems and processes for your pet business.

Liz is the Owner of Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting with five locations in Phoenix area. Not only has Liz turned her passion for animals into a thriving business, she is an expert when it comes to creating an environment of growth for your business as well. In fact, as an Operational Strategist, Liz specializes in working with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She can assist with everything from streamlining systems to creating manageable training and operational manuals. Liz received her Bachelor’s in Business from Arizona State University and her Master’s in Education from Northern Arizona University.

Liz Illg Headshot

Biggest Take Away You Don’t Want To Miss

If you’re ever going to grow your business, you need more than an Employee Handbook and Training manual. You need business systems and processes. You need a step by step how-to on how to complete each individual tasks that you do every day. It’s not as easy as telling your staff to do something. In order for it to be done correctly and the way you want it, you need to tell them exactly how you want it done.

You want to engage your employees and feed into them.

Show Highlights

  • How Liz was able to expand her business from 1 storefront to 5 [2:15]
  • Switching your mindset from blaming others to recognizing your own downfalls [7:20]
  • The difference between an Employee Handbook and Training manual and having processes and systems [9:33]
  • The strategy behind the processes [14:01]
  • Tone and Style of writing [23:30]
  • Why is the process never complete? [29:33]
  • What does it look like to work with Liz? [32:45]

Links

Let’s Connect!

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’’

 

 

Want More Liz?

If you LOVED hearing from Liz Illg, you can hear more from her in the hour long training she did with our members last summer. She has already transformed a lot of their businesses when they hired her. It works! 😉 

 

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How to Build Trust in Your Pet Business on Social Media

Nowadays with all the automation that we can incorporate in business, it’s becoming more and more necessary to prove that we are human. Especially when it comes to the internet and consistent technological advances.

How do we remain human in a fast-paced technological world? 

The answer isn’t as simple as we would think. Remaining human has a lot to do with identifying who we are, what we represent, and what we want our clients to see. Then it’s about transferring that human quality not only in face to face contact but through our social media as well.

Thankfully, Bryan Kramer, the founder of the H2H movement as well as Keynote Speaker, TED Talk Speaker,  Coach, and CEO of H2H Companies, a Business Performance Coaching Company, was able to teach us more about human to human interactions and how you can build trust in your pet business on social media. 

 

Trust on Social Media

 

Your Why and Your Purpose

In order to present yourself as trustworthy on social media, you first need to know yourself.

What is your why?

What is your purpose?

Your purpose is made up of three equal parts.

  1. Inspiration
  2. Vision
  3. Innovation

The key to a sound purpose is the equality of these three parts. Too much of one thing will cause your purpose to be unclear and unattainable.  All three of these are reliant on your ability to balance them and pursue them.

Understanding your why and your purpose will not only give you a foundation for the values of your business but it will also help you to identify how you want your business to be portrayed to the public. When portraying your business it’s important to stay real to who you are. Especially, when it comes to technology.

It is all too easy to lose our human traits when representing ourselves through a screen rather than in person.

So, how do we remain human in a fast-paced technological world?

Identify and live out your why and your purpose. 

How We Share in Person Vs. Social Media

Social media is the face of your business.

What kind of stories are you telling?

What kind of stories are you hiding?

Is your social media consistent with the same emotion or does it vary and expand beyond what others are doing?

Do you want to blend in or stand out?

Trust me when I say, you do not want to blend in.

In order to stand out, you have to come across as human on social media, very similar to how you would portray yourself in person.

In-person we are multi-dimensional. We share all of our different emotions whether that’s happy, sad, angry, anything in between. You’ll be able to read those emotions in our tone of voice, facial expression, body language, and obviously with our words.

On social media, we tend to lean on one emotion and only portray that emotion, all. the. time. The issue with that is that it’s not actually who we are. We aren’t always happy and excitable.

Say, if you’re on social media and all of your posts have dozens of exclamation points because you want to make your viewers excited. That’s great, but if your page is full of excitement, it looks very fake. That is not who you are.

Show your emotions and let your personality shine. 

Divide your social media into thirds. Share one third about you, one third about other people and one third of educational content and news.

 

Jump Mastermind

 

Identifying Your Unique Traits

To marry your passion and your brand, you’ll need to identify what makes you unique.

Everyone shares in their own way and it’s extremely important to identify what category of sharer each person in your company is. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you’re making the ask of the right person.

The six categories of sharers, outlined by Bryan are:

  1. The AltruistAltruists are individuals who are highly recognized for their commitment to helping others. These are people who not only dedicate themselves in terms of actions, but also with regard to being mindful with their personal relationships.
  2. Early Adopter- The early adopter branding refers to a recognized subculture of progressive individuals who embrace individuality above all else. Although the term has existed since the Jazz age, modern early adopters are often associated with being the first to try new things and share them with others.
  3. ConnectorConnectors are people who pride themselves on their ability to bring people together. These are usually the individuals who are well connected and openly use their network to unite. Typically creative, they obtain validation and satisfaction through others.
  4. Careerist- Careerists are people who are have shown a preference for professional advancement above all other personal achievements. More often associated with business-related networks.
  5. Boomerang- The boomerang brand type refers to people whose brand is closely identified with controversy. In many cases, they do not necessarily agree with the content-choosing to pass on the information for the potential of being seen as provocative.
  6. Selective- The selective is a person that shares information with specific people. They usually carefully curate information based on the general needs and interests of the target audience. They value exclusivity and are largely viewed as being informative and resourceful.

Find out what category of sharer you are by clicking on the picture below and taking Bryan’s quick quiz!


Human on Social

Keep in mind, you may change from day to day as the type that you takes into account how you are feeling when you take it.

Once you and your employees take the quiz, compare and see how you all work together!

Body Language and First Impression

First impressions are critical in our business. Doing our first meet and greet with the client is really the only chance we will have to interact with them and show them who we are.

Oftentimes on these first meetings, we are missing intimacy. We are so busy going through the facts of our business and their pets that we miss making a connection with them.

Bryan describes intimacy as into-me-you-see. It’s the passage of looking past the exterior and the facts and learning more about someone. It’s extremely important for us to build that connection with our clients. We are not just providing a job, we are serving their precious pet, their family member.

In order to be more intimate with our clients, we need to make more agreements with them.

To do so, we start by asking questions about their pets and what they’re looking for from us. Get to know the different lives of each animal to be able to better serve them specifically. Not every client and every pet are going to be cookie-cutter and that’s why it’s so important to treat them as unique as they are.

An agreement can be made around anything and will look different for everyone. To get started making an agreement, you simply have to bring something up transparently and ask them to agree. The thing is, the other person doesn’t have to agree to your terms and may come back with a counteroffer.

Over time, agreements make a relationship strong. You’re learning how to communicate with each other and ensure your interactions are a two-way street.

We are human, talking to a human.

Trust and Delegation

It’s not easy being everywhere at once. As the business owner, it’s almost impossible for you to be at every single meet and greet. You need to trust yourself, your staff and your ability to lead them.

You need to delegate.

Bryan recommends practicing making agreements with your staff.

Sit them down for a team meeting and explain to them why making agreements with clients is so important to your business. Give them the opportunity to practice making agreements with another team member and finalize the meeting with a group debrief/discussion.

As a bigger group, discuss what happened, what they got from it, what they discovered and grow from there.

Conclusion

Keeping yourself relevant and building trust in your pet business on social media is as simple as keeping yourself you. Identify what makes you unique, what is your purpose, and your why. Then identify different ways you can use your team in order to reflect you and your business in everything they do.

If you want to learn more about human to human interaction and how to use it to make your business thrive. Join Bryan Kramer on his H2H Marketing & Leadership Hub Facebook group.

Just click the image below!

Build Trust

 

Hiring Tips For Your Pet Business During the Holidays

Its that time of the year again when everything turns into all holidays, all the time. The time when every store is confused about what to celebrate first with multiple isles of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the MASSIVE Christmas section.

I think we can all admit that September through December, Holiday preparation takes over. 

What’s wrong with that, right?

Except if you are hiring. Dealing with the stress of hiring during the holidays is intense.

 

Here are my Tips and Mindset Shifts Needed to Hire During the Holidays

  1. Embrace the process
  2. Streamline
  3. Have a Fast System
  4. Delegate
  5. Go Where Your Avatar Hangs Out
  6. Always be Hiring

 

finding staff during the holidays

Embrace the Process

There’s nothing more important than taking over your mindset and truly embracing the hard stuff. In order to be successful in hiring for your pet business during the holidays, it’s going to be necessary to first ensure your thoughts are where they should be.

Are you thinking about how awful it is?

Or are you thinking about how you’re going to completely rock out hiring and get amazing new staff?

Embrace people looking for seasonal help.

Keep in mind, your business will become very busy during this time of the year. From family vacations to people maybe not wanting to walk their dogs in the snow, holidays can be great for business.

 

Streamline

You’ve heard me talk about the importance of streamlining your social media process and with the same importance, you also need to streamline your hiring process.

Everyone’s busy and no one has time to wait around for a two or three-week hiring process. They want to jump in with a four to five day hiring process. Trust me, it’s true!

Not only is this beneficial to the applicant but it’s faster for you to get through more applicants at a time. At the end of the day, being quick will make you look better to the applicant because it appears that you are engaged and serious about hiring.

The easiest way to do this is by using hiring software, like JazzHR, that will allow you to automate and add in hiring phases. Recently, one of the Mastermind group members tested out the new JazzHR text option, where you can text applicants from the software.

Here’s what she had to say:

 

Hiring

 

Fast System

A fast system doesn’t just mean creating a quick work flow through applicants, it also means setting up your system in a way where you’re able to quickly find each applicant, where they are at in the hiring phases, and how they responded to each phase.  I like having about three to five different phases for the applicant.

In the first phase, I will ask them questions to get to know their character. For each question, I score them from one to five.

In the end, I’ll add up their total points and if they meet the score I decided ahead of time that they needed to meet, then I will move them on to the next phase.

I’ll always recommend that at least one of these preliminary phases either be through knock out questions or a video recorded by the applicant.

This gives you the opportunity to weed out people further based on an actual interaction or, for video, their comfort level in getting out there and doing something out of the ordinary.

 

Delegate

Delegation is one of the most underrated methods of self-care. The simple act of allowing others to do the work that you don’t need to do yourself takes some stress off your plate and frees up your schedule to focus on more important things.

If you have phases with scoring involved, delegating the task of hiring can be super easy. All you need to do is ensure that the person in charge of hiring knows what you’re looking for and what your ideal applicant looks like. Make it a mathematical equasion.

Before the final meeting phase, you can review the applicants and schedule them for an in-person interview with yourself. That way, you saved a bunch of time not reviewing all of their answers and you’re ultimately still the person in charge of if they work at your business or not.

 

Go Where Your Avatar Hangs Out

In order to properly set up your hiring process, you need to know who your ideal applicant is. For the holidays, it can be anyone from a snowbird traveling south for the winter or a college student home for the holidays that are looking to pick up some extra cash. I actually did a free 3 hour clas on this that you can take called Jump and Scale.

If you’re open to the idea of temporary workers, make sure that’s known in your hiring posting and advertise directly to that audience.

Imagine this: “Are you home for the holidays and looking to earn some extra Christmas money while loving on pets? This job may be the perfect one for you!”

I actually liked temporary applicants when I had my business becasue they were typically avaialble during the times when my pet sitting company had in influx of clients like the holidays, school vacations, and the summer.

Once you identify your ideal applicant, figure out where they would spend their time. Are they people who would hang out in your local coffee shop in the middle of the day? Maybe people attending pet holiday parties?

Figure out where they are and attract them.

Always Be Hiring

Do you hire for the Holidays or hire for long term employment?

The answer is simple.

Do both.

Don’t limit yourself by looking for employees that are only going to be long term if you’re able to staff for your Holiday rush.

Always be hiring. It’s the best opportunity for your company to ensure there are always going to be enough staff. I like to say to have more staff than what you need. I know the next thing you are thinking is “But what if I don’t have work for them?” and I would say that isn’t your problem. Be honest with them about where you are at, why you are attracted to them, and opportunities for them to help you market for new clients while we wait for their route to build up.

Hiring Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful

Hiring doesn’t have to be a stressful event where you burn yourself out keeping track of every applicant at different stages in the hiring process.   You do not have to waste your time searching through resume after resume and doing endless amounts of interviews that just don’t match up with your company culture.

Embrace the idea of hiring for your pet business during the holidays, streamline your hiring process, make the system fast and apply phases, delegate the task of sorting through applicants, go where your avatar hangs out and always be hiring.

Interested in learning more about JazzHR?
Check out my post Secrets to Success on JazzHR vs. Indeed for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers. 

You can also get started with JazzHR here.

 

Holiday Tips

Episode 171: Hiring Tips for Finding Staff During the Holidays

Its that time of the year again! When September/October hit and everything turns into all holidays, all the time. The time when every store is confused about what to celebrate first with multiple isles of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the MASSIVE Christmas section.

I think we can all admit that September through December, Holiday preparation takes over.

What’s wrong with that, right? The holiday season is loved by so many! But not everyone has to deal with the stress of trying to hire during the Holidays. We get burnt out trying to find staff during the holidays because people are either only seasonal or not applying at all! Then we get burnt out and it results in an altogether disappointing feeling.

Take back your Holiday season!

Dive in with me as I discuss tips and mindset shifts that we all need in order to take over hiring during the Holiday season.

Hiring During the Holidays

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

Finding staff during the Holidays can and needs to be taken advantage of! What you need to do is first, check your mindset, make sure you’re going in with a positive, go-getter mentality. Second, streamline your process now! Don’t wait until you’re in extreme need of staff. You need to set up a process now, create a fast system, delegate the hiring tasks, and find your ideal Holiday candidate.

You can take back your Holiday!

Show Highlights

  • Embrace hiring in the Holidays [2:07]
  • Streamline your process [3:06]
  • Create a fast system [5:52]
  • Delegate [6:25]
  • Find your ideal candidate [7:44]
  • Should you hire for long term or seasonal? [11:30]

Hiring During the Holidays

Links

Share the Show

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  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
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Join Jump Mastermind

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.

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

hiring

Episode 123: Solving The Hiring Problem In Your Pet Business

Abbie Hawkins is the Senior Channel Account Manager for JazzHR, the best hiring software in the pet industry. Listen in to see how over 60 pet sitting companies are turning their “I don’t have anyone to hire” problem into “I have too many qualified applicants to sift through” This is a great episode you will want to hear!

 

hiring

 

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • The two problems you will always be solving in your pet sitting or dog walking company is getting more clients and getting more staff. By having a consistent, on-going hiring funnel, we can solve the problem of staffing once and for all. By always having an abundance of staff that are able to step in at any moment’s notice, you are preventing yourself from being held hostage in your business. Hiring isn’t a means to an end – it is an on-going process!

 

Show Highlights

  • How do we change the mindset from hiring one person to having an actual hiring funnel? [5:00]
  • What happens if you don’t have the right amount of staff? [6:45]
  • How does JazzHR solve the hiring problem on a global scale? [8:00]
  • What are some tips to having a strong hiring ad? [11:00]
  • Can you describe what a knockout question is? [14:00]
  • What are some sample hiring flows you’ve seen in other businesses? [18:00]
  • How do I proceed when I have resignations and new positions to fill? [18:45]
  • Any suggestions to bring in more applicants? [23:00]

 

Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
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Links

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,

 

pet sitting employees

Episode 95: Coaching Your Pet Sitting Employees To Success With Niki Ramirez

Today we welcome our friend, Niki Ramirez! She is a Human Resource specialist at HRAnswers.org, who provides full-service HR consultation, compliance support and employee training for small businesses. Their mission is to take care of “HR” so that their clients can focus on their business. Today we’re talking about how to be a coach to your pet sitting employees and why it is so important. 

pet sitting employees

 

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • We are all natural coaches. But the way that we interact and socialize makes it difficult. Be mindful and focused to practice the skills that are already within us.
  • Coaching is an opportunity to point out what you do well and also offer immediate ways to adjust. It is also  a top opportunity to build relationships and report with our pet sitting employees
  • How often should we be coaching people? We don’t want to be a “mother hen” and we don’t want to go overboard. It is more important to go hard during the introduction time period. When an employee is new you want to coach them more.
  • Counseling vs coaching where do you draw the line? As a leader, you have to send questions ahead of time that guides your thinking. You have to identify that they are going through something but work through it quickly. Let them know you value them and you have a support base for them if needed. But you can’t “counsel” them.
  • Where do you draw the line of counseling or coaching and those personal boundaries? You can’t always get too personal, even though you may want to. You have to have a distinct boundary line
  • Can staff members coach each other? Definitely! In fact, they are a great resource for team building. Find who is doing a wonderful job that will help you grow. Tap into that and help them grow naturally within your company.

 

Show Highlights:

  • What is coaching and why should we coach? We don’t always feel like natural coaches or understand the mindset of how to become an effective coach. It is a way we can change the outcome of the “game” as it progresses. [5:00]
  • What do great coaches do to unlock the best potential of their employees? They often provide a vision for their employees [9:20]
  • Are there different types of coaching? And when should we implement these techniques and why? [13:20]
  • Is there any easy way to say “I’m going to be coaching you?” [15:00]
  • How can you coach stubborn pet sitting employees? We want to boost performance but think about coach vs. discipline. If you coach first, you will probably not have to discipline. But sometimes you have to put them on notice. [19:00]
  • How can you find Niki and tap into her resources? [24:00]

coach

Links

Find and contact Niki for a quick and easy consultation at HRAnswers.org

 

Share The Show:

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
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  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’

coach

Episode 62: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Hiring Pet Sitting Employees

One of the most challenging hurdles pet sitting business owners encounter is hiring. Many reach a point where they absolutely cannot take on anymore clients, unless they bring on some extra hands. What some business owners don’t consider is how much truly goes into making sure you’re hiring a HERO rather than a ZERO. So what better way to get your feet wet in the world of pet sitting employees than hearing the stories of other business owners who’ve been through the process many times before?

On this episode, Bella is joined by three successful pet sitting business owners that have been through it ALL when hiring pet sitting employees. In three 10 minute segments, Bella asks each one of these industry veterans three crucial questions:

  • What is the best way to find pet sitting employees?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made when hiring pet sitting employees?
  • What’s your best secret that you would tell your old self about hiring pet sitting employees?

Listen now to find out the answers to Bella’s burning questions while gaining invaluable knowledge about the hiring process in the pet sitting world.

pet sitters

Maureen McCarthy

Maureen McCarthy has worked with dogs and cats either grooming or pet sitting since 1980.  When she moved to North Carolina in 2006, she started Love and Kisses Pet Sitting  which she continues to successfully operate today. Love and Kisses Pet Sitting is now an award winning company (4 years and counting!), honored as the recipient of the Best Pet Sitting Business In Union County. Additionally, Maureen’s business has attained the 2015 and 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Maureen now has 21 pet sitting employees working for her, all of which she requires to continually undergo continuing education to ensure they provide the best service possible.

pet sitting business

David Steinberg

David Steinberg founded David’s Pet Sitting while studying in graduate school to become a therapist at the UConn School of Social Work. Luckily, the program was located in his hometown (West Hartford). His friends then demanded he watched their pets when they went away. David happily obliged and before he knew it, David’s Pet Services was a thing.  David now has a number of employee’s working under him, and is continuing to hire more and more while honing the process.

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

small business

Cara Armour

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

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Listen To The Show:

 

Ten Things You Need To Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employees VS. IC

Good help is hard to find, as any business owner knows. With the variety of web-based services which offer Independent Contractor (IC) opportunities for aspiring pet sitters and dog walkers, why would a pet lover choose to work for a traditional business as a pet sitting employee rather than working independently and possibly bringing home more cash?  

Becoming an employee of an established company offers lots benefits for folks who are interested in caring for pets. When considering how to proceed, it’s important that an individual consider several things. Below are the top 10 differences in working for an employer versus working for one’s self.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employee VS. IC

pet sitting employee

1. Instant income

Possibly the most obvious benefit of working for someone else is the instant stream of work! Rather than posting a profile all over the internet, handing out business cards and hoping to meet people at the dog park, an established company already has visits lined up and ready to go for employees. There’s no need to hustle.

2. Overhead

All of the marketing and client retention is completed by the company, which takes time (and money!). If a client is unhappy, employees are still paid. If tools or supplies are needed, it’s covered. An IC is financially responsible for all things related to the care they provide during visits they are contracted to complete.

3. Insurance

Beyond covering overhead costs, a professional business will be insured and bonded by a reliable insurance company. Although some of the web-based services offer insurance, there have been several questionable situations where insurance refused to pay out – it can leave an IC open to liability.

4. Personal liability

When working under the umbrella of insurance and bonding provided by a corporation, employees are generally insulated from lawsuits claiming negligence or other civil suits; this is not the case when working as an IC.

5. Workers comp

Did you know many health insurance policies will not cover workplace injuries? Most professional pet care companies carry workers compensation insurance; this means, if an employee is injured while caring for a pet, there isn’t a reliance on private health insurance — or the employee’s personal bank account! Self-insurance for workers comp as an IC is available, but it can be very, very pricey.

6. Safety

With a professional company, clients are screened ahead of time for pet temperament, neighborhood safety and accuracy of information provided in advance of the first visit. Employees won’t go into a job blindly and just hope for the best.

7. Taxes

An employer covers roughly half of taxes owed by an individual, plus they file the employee’s portion automatically each quarter. An IC must pay the full amount of taxes on all monies earned at the end of the year – and that bill can be unexpectedly large.

8. Protocols

Most established companies have specific rules for how to handle uncomfortable and emergency situations. No need to make up a solution on the fly!

9. Education

Beyond having established protocols, many companies teach technical skills on how to best care for pets including body language, avoiding bites, etc.

10. There’s Always A Back-Up

Feeling sick? Have an emergency? By being employed by a company, there will be someone who can pick up the slack when you’re unable to perform your visits.  As an IC, you and your clients may be out of luck.

 

Ultimately, both approaches have their perks. It comes down to what’s most important to an individual when deciding how they would like to pursue a career with pets! By properly presenting the information above, an IC for an internet company may be persuaded to instead join a professional team.

pet sitting

Robin Brown is the owner and founder of Manhattan Mutt Company, LLC in Manhattan, Kansas. She is a Yankee-born, Southern-bred, Midwestern transplant. Her life revolves around her husband’s Army career, a sassy toddler and the dogs who inspired her to launch MMCo.

 

pet sitting beginners guide

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees

Many people think that when you have employees, you will always have problems.

But that isn’t always the case.

There are just a few things you have to accept and understand in order for pet sitting employees to be the best decision of your life.

  • Trust
  • Cost
  • Interviewing/Hiring/Training

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees

pet sitting employees

Trust

One of the biggest challenges I see with business owners is being able to trust their employees. There really is such a fine line between being an involved business owner and micromanaging. It’s up to you to find your balance and stick with it.

So how can you overcome these trust issues?

It lies in your training process. You’ll need to train your pet sitting employees extremely well to give both you and them peace of mind. Most employees WANT to do their job well – you just have to provide them with the resources to be successful. This also makes them feel like a part of the company. When you do a good job of training your employees it shows them that you are invested in their success – it makes them feel good!

But don’t get comfy. It’s imperative that you stick to your rules, but you don’t want to come across as a dictator. It’s all about balance.

Cost

Try to see your employees as an investment rather than an expense. If you have the proper pricing structure and strategy, your employees will increase your revenue as well as the value of your business.

In fact, every employee can bring you $20,000 to $60,000  in revenue!

If you invest in people working for your company, your company will grow and so will your paycheck. The typical expenses are insurance, background tests, uniforms, training, etc.

If the cost of employees makes you think independent contractors are a better route. Know that independent contractors actually cost more!

Interviewing/Hiring/Training

The process of hiring, interviewing, and training is one that many business owners find challenging. It’s easily one of the biggest problems with having pet sitting employees. My advice? Wrap your head around the fact that you’re going to be doing this your entire business career.

Become one with it.

Perfect it!

If you’re worried about tackling these processes on your own, consider hiring an HR representative. Having this kind of help can help you overcome the burden of having to figure all of this out on your own.

In the pet sitting businesses, I see so many capable business owners NOT growing their business due to people problems. If you can learn to overcome this, then the sky is the limit! There are so many resources out there for you – you just have to look. 🙂

Employee Handbook and Training Manual

 

Episode 57: Lead Through Strengths With Lisa Cummings

Description

On this episode, Bella spends time with Lisa Cummings, Founder of Lead Through Strengths.  Lisa talks about how it is her life’s mission to help people get over their obsession of fixing weaknesses instead of focusing on their strengths, the things that make them happy, give them energy and make them successful.

pet sitter marketing

Lisa Cummings

“Notice what works to get more of what works!” – Lisa Cummings

Pay attention to what is working. Make sure in your customer surveys you aren’t just asking what needs improvement. Ask customers what they loved most about the various parts of the service. You may find that some simple little thing you do, like giving out a little “report card” at the end of a stay, may be the thing that keeps them coming back and gets them referring you. After all, it is easier to replicate what is working for you than to try to figure out the 50 or 60 potential solutions to something one client says they don’t like.

To zero in on your strengths Lisa recommends the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 which gives you a code to take an online strengths survey. It gets away from skills and knowledge and helps you find your natural talents, the way you think, feel and act that feel good to you. It gives a filter for helping figure out the best way for you to approach issues. The book explains the definition of the 34 potential talent themes revealed by the survey.

Another way to zero in on strengths is to look for what brings you ease, energy and enjoyment. If a particular activity causes you to lose track of time, stop and exam just what about it really kept you engaged.

On her website, Lisa  has a list of things you may want “more of” in your daily life. It can give you clues as to what activities you are more attracted to.

Two books that Lisa recommends are First Break All the Rules by Gallup Press and Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. She says that if you read them from the standpoint of managing people and then combine that with a strengthsfinder of those people you manage it is most helpful in managing people.

When you have a business challenge imagine putting it through a funnel.  You drop it in at the top and you filter it through all the top talents and strengths in your business.  Try thinking how to solve it using each of those strengths.  Lisa says is causes your brain to think in ways it normally doesn’t and can lead to some creative solutions.

One first step you can take is to decide what you want your company to remembered for and what you want to be remembered for. Come up with a list of words and phrases around that which will serve as an outline of what is most important to you.  Another is to list out the values that are important to you. Lisa has a list of values on her website you can use as a reference.

Lisa also recommends finding out similar information from your customers.  Casually ask customers what word or words come to mind when they think of you or your business.

Finally, she suggests you make a list of at least 100 responses to “I am good at _________!”. It helps you not only affirm how much you are good at but you can group them into trends and see if you are truly applying them in your business.

About Lisa

Lisa Cummings has delivered training & speaking events to over 9,000 participants in 14 countries. You can see her featured in places like Harvard Business Publishing, Training Magazine, and Forbes. She’s the CEO of a company called Lead Through Strengths. When she’s not out spotting strengths with teams, you’ll find her rescuing stray dogs or playing drums.

Links mentioned in this episode

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 53: Everything You Need To Know About Vetting With Justin Recla

On this episode Bella speaks with Justin Recla, Operations Officer for The Clear Business Directory Due Diligence and Vetting Solutions.

pet sitting business

Justin Recla

They discuss:

  • The importance of vetting your potential business partners, employees, and service providers
  • How best to go about vetting
  • How Justin and Tonya’s background in Counterintelligence translated over to the business world.
  • Does having a due diligence process tells others that you do not trust them?
  • How business owners can use their vetting process when marketing themselves.

Justin and Tonya Dawn Recla are Army veterans and former government agents who bring over 20 years of combined counterintelligence experience to the business world. They established The Clear Business DirectoryTM and have forever changed the way business gets done. For the first time, consumers and business owners alike can make sure potential partners, investors, and service providers are who they say they are and can do what they say they can do.

You can find out more at ClearBusinessDirectory.com.

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bella in your business

Episode 45: Everything You Need To Know About Background Checks With Jason Waggoner

On this episode  Bella spends time with Jason Waggoner, Vice President of Marketing for ACUTRAQ Background Screening Solutions. They discuss the importance of background checks and how ACUTRAQ can help eliminate some of the liabilities around doing it yourself.

hire Background Checks costs

Jason Waggoner

They discuss:

  • Some of the drawbacks to using the simple background check services you see online
  • How a service like ACUTRAQ can actually reduce some of the liability around background checks
  • How you should proceed when a potential employee has something flagged in their background check
  • Jason’s UMeetU movement and acting/video production activities.

You can find out more about ACUTRAQ at https://www.acutraq.com/.

To find out more about Jason’s UMeetU movement, go to http://www.umeetumovement.com/.

To see a cool music video Jason put together for ACUTRAQ check out https://youtu.be/2giXfjnB0p4.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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

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

Topics covered are:

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

Wendy Van de Poll

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

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

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

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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

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

Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies

Adam & Lynn Smith

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

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 37: Leadership, Strategic Planning, & Vision With Tarran Deane

On this episode, Bella discusses leadership with Tarran Deane, author of the new book,  “The Alphabet Principle: Your A – Z Guide to Being a Compelling Leader”.

business coaching

Tarran Deane

Tarran Deane is Australia’s Corporate Cinderella a Leadership Development Company. Tarran works with executives, entrepreneurs, experts and emerging leaders to increase their personal effectiveness, capability, communication and commercial savviness. Bringing a maverick edge, and entrepreneurial trends to established businesses and organizations, Tarran boldly challenges, honors and equips people to shift the performance of their organization’s people, practice, and profit.  Tarran intentionally cuts through the whispered frustrations of workplaces today, equipping you to lead strategically and tactically in the fast pace of real life @ work, so you and your team can get the job done and love the company you’re in. A sought-after international keynote speaker, Tarran’s warmth, humor and 43,000 hours in leadership have helped more than 26,000 audience members to hit the shift key and lead like they mean it with boldness and humility.

alphabet principleBella and Tarran discuss:

  • How as a woman to be taken seriously in the corporate world
  • Dealing with problem generators in the workplace
  • Why vision and strategic planning matter.
  • Her “Signature 7 Leadership Framework” for planning out your work week. (Infographic can be gotten at https://www.tarrandeane.com/signature7leadershipinfographic/)

You can find out more about Tarran on her website at http://tarrandeane.com.
Connect with her on facebook
Get her book here

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2 Of The Most Important Requirements To Establish With New Pet Sitting Employees

How exciting! You just hired a new pet sitting employee for your company and now comes the training period. But how exactly do you teach someone and ensure that they not only understand but will agree to all the policies and procedures you have created for your business? How do you make sure they respect the boundaries that they are working in and your position as their boss?

Every day you’ll fight an uphill battle if the rules and boundaries of your pet sitting company aren’t properly set up. That means having a training program that teaches your staff members the employee handbook and training manual.

If you don’t have these things, prepare for your foot to hurt a lot – and often –  as you’re basically shooting at it as soon as you pop out of bed.

Just having rules isn’t enough, though.

They need to be clear, constantly updated and taught in a way that ensures employees
A) understand and
B) agree

 

 

Requirement #1 When Employees Understand:

For new pet sitting employees to understand rules, you’ll need a few different things during training such as:

  • Funny videos, pictures, and good personal stories stressing the importance of certain policies.
  • Handbook and policies are written in language that is simple, easy to read, and to the point.
  • An effective shadowing process to tie up loose ends at the culmination of training.
  • A process of about 1-2 weeks. It should be drawn out over a few days (and up to a few weeks) and may include shadowing in the field too.
  • Ultimately, the best way to make sure they’ve satisfied your company’s “understanding” requirement is that you could administer an employee-exam covering important policies and things employees frequently mess with.


Requirement #2 When New Pet Sitting Employees Agree:

When it comes to agreeing, we aren’t just talking about signing on the dotted line. When your employees don’t just know the policy, but truly agree with it, you’ll have an easier time offering them constructive criticism and giving out consequences.  It’s your job to make sure they agree. You’ll want to go out of your way for this one.

 

Include Your New Pet Sitting Employee To Get Them To Agree

During training, let them engage with you about policy and keep open the possibility of you tweaking or changing the rules based on their advice. Verbalize to them that you’d truly do something like that.

Create multiple opportunities like this to give them skin in the game. Hear their concerns and make them feel as comfortable as humanly possible to offer such wisdom back. Stay strong when you must.  

Be ready to defend and explain the reasons why certain policies mean so much to you. If you write policy with a strong moral and safety background, you’ll have little to debate.

new pet sitting employees

Create and Discuss Hypothetical Scenarios To Get Your New Pet Sitting Employees To Agree:

You should make sure that you go out of your way to ensure they agree with all the policies. Help your new pet sitting employees come up with issues they might experience.

Come up with separate hypothetical examples of employees where mistakes were met with constructive criticism,  

A) getting a strike

B) being suspended

C) getting fired

Show them how, in each example, you didn’t get upset, but simply gave the consequence. Ask them if this type of system they can be happy operating under. Get them, beyond all doubt, to say “I 100% agree to how this company runs.” Then, you can finally have them sign on the dotted line of your company’s employment agreement (that was looked at by your employment lawyer!).

 

The Business (You) Will Come Out The Good Guy:

When you get your new pet sitting employees to understand and agree, you preserve the relationship; the system does the consequence giving, not you.  Giving consequences are already awkward enough.

Giving consequences in a, non-confrontational manner, with as little words and interaction from your part, is how it’s done right. Do, however, tell them to please voice their concerns if they have any – and hear them with unconditional empathy and a refusal to argue.

Don’t offer any more than you must on your end though – let the system do the talking.  When you do it this way, you simultaneously preserve your relationship and boundaries. Then, the only thing you’ll have to focus on is giving the rewards – something that is much more powerful and wayyy more fun anyhow.

 

*****
David Steinberg is the owner of David’s Pet Services (DPS) – a Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Co. based out of West Hartford, CT. In his last profession, he was a certified psychotherapist where he worked 1-on-1 with children and young adults and provided psychoeducation to adults on parenting.

David feels the transition from therapist to dog trainer and business owner was seamless – with lesson learned including conflict resolution, positive reinforcement, and relationship building, he now feels equipped to ensure obedient doggy-clients, satisfied human-clients, happy employees, and a healthy business.

If you love adorable pictures of puppies, check out his Instagram Also, here’s his website, facebook page, twitter!

 

 

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gift Ideas To Give Your Staff

There’s nothing quite like the squeals of excitement when your surprise someone with a gift. It’s even better when you’re rewarding your hard working employees with heartfelt appreciation. Day in and day out our employees put in their effort, energy, and time away from their home and family for our businesses. That’s why these 5 holiday gifts to give your staff are the perfect ideas to really show just how much they mean to you.

 

Think about it: Our employees are the backbones of our business. They are the faces our clients see, they are the ones we trust to show up as scheduled. This holiday season make sure your staff knows that you really care.

We talked with some of our closest pet sitting and dog walking business owners and here are 

pet sitting staff gifts

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gifts To Give Your Staff:

 

Take Them Out On The Town

Our friend, Cheryle Meyer Stadler took her 6 Employees to a  VIP party at the Improv. They all enjoyed  dinner, drinks and front row entertainment with a guest of their choice. Even more, they also got a bonus, personalized wine glasses complete with a dog-inspired wine tags, plus a goodie bag full of awesome things like candy, hand sanitizer, flashlights, lanyards, nail polish, & lip stuff.

 

Send Them On a Getaway

Another great idea we got was from Krista Cugno Lofquist. She decided to give her hardworking Office Managers a trip or a cruise. Start searching now for a Groupon or Expedia and give them a much needed vacation. Our office managers work endlessly running the day to day tasks needed for a successful business, that’s why they truly deserve it! Sometimes even a stay-cation would do the trick!

christmas gifts to give your staff

Personalized Gifts

In previous years Krista also got each sitter and groomer a piece of pawprint jewelry, some with a birthstone, others with diamonds. How sweet is that? Try to find a local jeweler to get a great deal on a bulk order. This is such a wonderful idea that Katie Westerfield also gave out personalized jewelry one year. She gave pandora bracelets with the paw print dog bowl charm to her staff of three. Her staff posted about how great their boss was with pictures on Facebook. That’s how much they loved it!

Lindsay Licata likes to make things a bit more personal. She says, “I got one of my girls a beanie hat that has cat ears (Amazon $10), another one new cat dishes for her cat, a soap and cream set, a couple bath and body sets…..” What a great way to let your staff know that you put some personal through into what you got them. 

holiday gifts to give your staff

Bonuses

Sometimes when you have a larger staff it can be hard to do group parties. Pet sitting businesses aren’t set up like normal offices, where we all can break in the lunchroom for cake and punch for the holidays. That’s why Lucy Moore offers her employees cash by way of a bonus through payroll or even a year of membership at Costco. This is a perfect option for larger staffs and tougher schedules to coordinate. Speaking of Costco, they have great client gifts too!

Liz Chancey says  I always give cash. It’s not very creative, but I always loved receiving cash at Christmas. Plus, if they are having a hard time financially it’s helpful to them. I only have 3 employees and I give $50.00 to each.”

Samantha Busser also does cash with a twist: We do a girl’s day out every year (on their)  “workaversary” and Christmas with a nice lunch, a movie, and mani pedis, sometimes an old fashioned sleep over with girly movies and junk food lol, and for Christmas I also do a $50 cash bonus and some kind of gift, which I usually spend $25+ on.

 

Gift Cards

Everyone agrees that gift cards are a great way to go. For some, they can seem a little impersonal, so try to tailor the gift card to each person. Whether it’s a local boutique, pet store, or their favorite cafe, it’s more special when they know you were thinking of them specifically. Costco often sells them for 25% off, so check there first.

 

Even More Ideas… BONUS ROUND:

After I posted this article, I heard of even more awesome ideas that I couldn’t not add to the list. Take a look:

Christmas Lights and A Limo:

Sharon Jones says, “We are going out to eat this year and then a limo is picking us up and we are going to look at Christmas lights. We will have a gift exchange at the restaurant, we make it a game like white elephant but the gifts they bring are really nice. We limit to $25. Then we have for each of our staff members Holly Cook’s book “My End of the Leash”. We are celebrating this Sunday evening, I am excited!”   (BELLA NOTE: I have that book and I highly recommend it!!!)

Once you have picked out the best gifts for your staff let the fun begin!  Watching their eyes light up like twinkling lights and getting a big hug will make your day just as much as theirs. Plus, you’ll know your staff is assured of your appreciation, which is priceless. I always say, keep your staff happy, and they will keep your clients happy!

 

gifts to pet sitting clients

Employee Quick Start

Katrina Kadyszewski

Episode 20: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor

Katrina KadyszewskiIn 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 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 before leaving 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 & Employment Tax Audit Unit, focused primarily on payroll tax issues. The last 5 years she worked as a Corporation Tax auditor, traveling across the US auditing largely Fortune 500 companies.

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

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

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

Some resources they discuss are the IRS’s  20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor, and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage 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.

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How Should I Pay My Pet Sitting Employees?

how should I pay my pet sitting employees

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

how much should I pay my pet sitting employee

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

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

 

classes-pricing-guide

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

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

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

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

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

prices on website

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

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

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

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

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

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

pet sitting employee manual

Episode 17: Should Pet Sitters Still Offer Overnights If They Have To Pay Per Hour?

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses whether you should still offer overnights if you have to pay per hour? This is a hot topic because during this election year many are talking about raising the minimum wage, in some places as high as $15/hour.  In California, not only is the minimum wage being raised but they are mandating sick days and other things which are really going to cost businesses more and more money.

Education is Key to This Decision!

Bella emphasizes that you really need to educate yourself on the legislation in your particular state, what risk that implies for your  business, and what it will cost your business to comply. She says she really wants you to focus on the right team members (bookkeeper, CPA, lawyer) and to reach out to your state’s Department of Labor. Learn as much as you can and then make your own educated decision. Don’t listen to everyone on Facebook or your competitors!  Just because someone else elects to take one action doesn’t mean it’s the right one.

So, should you still offer overnights?  The easy answer for some will be no because they figure if they have to pay someone $15/hour for 8-10 hours, they would have to charge at least $200 for an overnight and they believe their clients would never pay that.  Bella points out, that could mean you are automatically giving up (what is on average) 20% of your revenue. In short, she recommends that you still offer overnights even if you have to pay per hour.

Put it on your website (with or without the price) and make sure you price it according to the 30/30/40 rule (30% for the business, 30% for you, and 40% for wages). Just be aware of what happens when you get to 40 hours (another great question to ask your state’s Department of Labor).

Remember, you don’t get to decide what is too expensive. Your clients do.  If a client does tell you it is too much, simply explain why it is that high.  Then offer them a less expensive alternative like 3 visits a day.  Let them know that it will probably be alright but if they feel that still isn’t enough then they could try the overnight option.

How To Sell Overnights:

Bella points out that if you don’t at least offer the option then visitors coming to your site looking for that option will “bounce” over to another service’s site.  Leave it on there. Keep them on your site. Engage them in a conversation giving them the reasoning and statistics and let them make the decision.

Another question to ask your state’s Department of Labor is whether or not you are exempt from the minimum wage due to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which states that people who make less than $500,000 don’t have to adhere to it.

Add More Value:

You could also consider additional value for these overnights like perhaps sending video and photos. You might include things like taking out the trash and/or sorting the mail. Add value to the overnights and make them exclusive benefits. Any of these additional values can help make a client feel better about spending the money.

Bella points out that in reality most pets are perfectly fine sleeping by themselves and that the real benefit offered in overnights is making the client feel less guilty about leaving their precious pet.  So let’s appeal to them and keep offering this service. Because if you don’t you have no idea just how much money you might be leaving on the table and walking away.

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Episode 16: Getting Rid of Toxic Relationships

Bella In Your Business

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses getting rid of “bad apples” otherwise known as bad relationships.  At some point in your personal or professional life you have had that person who is a vampire of your time or energy.  And they can be very influential in your life.

You need to constantly take inventory because it is said you are the sum of the 5 closest people in your life. Bella says she sees a lot of pet business owners not “trimming the fat”  of these toxic relationships when it is really necessary and they end up with “tummy aches”.

Bella Has Dealt With Bad Apples…

Bella confesses that she has had to deal with “bad apples” over the years.  She reminds us that some “bad apples” may not have started that way.  Life can change people.  And sometimes it is even harder to get rid of someone if your relationship with them started out great.

Consequences To Keeping Negative People Around:

There are many negative things that can result from keeping “bad apples” in your company.  For one, it could put you in a bad mood and that might spill out in the next conversation you have with a client or another employee.  You may be disappointed in yourself because you know that you are being walked all over.  Or you might feel stressed or scared over what retaliation might happen if you do dissolve or walk away from that relationship.

These types of toxic relationships are like a disease.  They can continue to grow and take over more and more of your life and spoil a lot of things.  We need to protect ourselves, our business, and our employees.

Are YOU The Bad Apple?

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a bad worker.  Sometimes YOU can be the “bad apple” as sometimes it is a bad boss.  Are you the one creating bad relationships? For instance, if  instead of helping and building up employees who seem to ask the same questions all the time, you lose your patience and yell at them.  Bella references a recent article that points to bad bosses as being among the chief reason people leave their jobs.

But whether you or one of your employees is the bad apple, not addressing it can have consequences on your business.  It can affect morale if employees see you treating another employee badly or if you accept bad behavior from another.  If you allow a “bad apple” to stick around it takes the power away from you for running your business.  For instance,  if someone has a lot of job responsibilities and they develop a chip on their shoulder it could bring about a negative attitude that will multiply when you bring in others to start taking on some of that person’s responsibilities.

So when people have a “bad apple”, why don’t they take care of it right away? Fear.  They might be afraid that by getting rid of that person there is some service or benefit that person still supplies that they will lose.

Don’t Fear The Break Up Of The Bad Relationships:

It could be fear of retaliation or of getting sued.  For that fear Bella suggests that you have a good team of legal and HR professionals you use who can help guide you through the correct process.  She points out that fear is just not understanding information.  Bella says that if you have more information and knowledge you are more able to make better decisions in life.  Do not let fear hold you back!

There is also a fear of who you will get to replace the “bad apple”.  To that, Bella says always be hiring.  Even when you think you don’t really have the business to support a new hire, still consider it.  Because, if you find the right candidate and you have the right pricing structure and strategies in place, you can be instantly boosting business and getting the new person some work.

Another fear is that  of the unemployment rate going up.  Many business owners are afraid that the terminated employee will file for unemployment potentially causing their unemployment rate to go up.  Bella says, once again,  the best way to overcome that fear is to educate yourself.  Call up your state’s Department of Labor and find out what it would mean if the terminated employee filed. But, don’t be afraid to fire them even if your unemployment is going up.  Just compare that increase to what it may cost you by  maybe ticking off some of your best clients or missing out on opportunities or not having your sanity day to day.

Is It Really Them, Or You?

One final important point that Bella stresses is that once you realize that an employee is a “Bad Apple”, and you choose to keep them on staff, they are no longer the problem. You are!  You are the problem.  Holding on to “bad apples”, in addition to giving you headaches, will hold your business back from becoming everything you dreamed it would be.  You have every right to build the team you want, with great relationships, and people that work well with you!  

Just remember, you are going to get back what you give.  If you show people that you appreciate them and that you care, they will give that back to you tenfold.   But if you are constantly struggling with hiring and finding the right people for you business, or you are having trouble with people respecting your business, or there is a constant struggle with your team, you might just want to take a deep look inside yourself.  It’s just possible that you might just be the “bad apple”!

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Episode 15: How to Get Rid of the Fear of Delegation

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In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined by Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. They dismantle the myths surrounding the fear of delegation in pet sitting businesses and discuss the profitable advantages of it.

Bella leads off by talking about her first delegation experience with the website Fancy Hands , a website that for a small fee will perform a few simple tasks for you. But she warns that your instructions need to be clear to ensure the task is done as you expect.  She says it’s like “the bootcamp for learning how to delegate.” Doing this, will decrease your fear of delegation.

Bella then talks about how she moved up to getting a virtual assistant (VA) and how with that she learned that prioritizing tasks for the VA  is key. She realized that she also needed to communicate how many hours she expected to be spent on the task as it better clarified the expectations and led to both her and the VA  feeling a sense of control over the task.  Kate pointed out that setting expectations on both sides is a very important step.

Kate then says that she feels that if you are going to delegate a task, make it one that needs to be repeated periodically. Doing so means that the time you spend setting up the expectations for the task the first time, will in essence, be training the assistant to do it in the future. As you set up expectations and outline the process for each task, you are essentially at the same time building an employee handbook. It becomes time well spent!

Kate also points out that you need to make sure you are putting a task in the hands of the right person. For instance, more complicated repetitive tasks are best done by someone like a VA who is consistently the same person, rather than using FancyHands or Fiverr ) where you may not be getting the same person each time.  Bella points out that mindless one-off tasks are better suited for those sites.

At this point Kate manages to blow Bella’s mind by suggesting that you have your VA document the process while they are doing the task. As Bella puts it, “Delegating the Delegation!”  

Bella then tells the listeners not to get discouraged when finding the right VA. She points out that just like hiring, sometimes a person does not work out.  Or, even when you find the right VA, they may have to leave for personal or family reasons.  She reinforces this by relating an experience she had. Kate adds that sometimes you or your needs change and that you should not be afraid to change your VA if things stop working out.

Bella mentions that some VAs can be more expensive than others but may bring a bigger skill set that can ultimately make you more productive.  She points out how critical a VA was in helping her organize and publish the first ever comprehensive chart of all the software companies in the pet sitting field. Kate says to think of it as an investment rather than a cost as it may help you and your business make more money.

Kate then discusses how one of the biggest hurdles people have in moving to delegating is the fear of letting go. They are afraid that someone else can’t do it as well as they can do it. She says rather than fear it, use it as an opportunity to examine and streamline the process.  You just may make it more efficient!

Kate mentions that one online tool she has found very helpful for delegation is Trello. It’s a free tool for putting up lists of tasks (which can be shared with others like your VA) and setting up a project timeline. Bella notes that visually it reminds her of Pinterest.

Since they have gotten on the topic of technology tools, Bella points out that most of us probably only use about 20% of the functionality of the tools we use. So she encourages the listeners to take the time to look at the tools website or seek out tutorials in order to really learn how to the get the most out of each tool!  Kate adds that she has tried to take the time this year to do just that.

Bella says that business owners should always make sure that their business is healthy and you always have enough money set aside to pour back into the business.  You can then use the “business” money to invest in these tools and processes that will ultimately help you grow your business.

They wrap up by stressing the importance of streamlining the processes and delegating the tasks. Kate also points out that there are some tasks, like contracts, that ABSOLUTELY should be delegated to the appropriate professionals, like lawyers. Bella agrees as she has had other business owners come and ask her for her service contract or her employee manual to use in their businesses, prompting her to ask “Do you want my underwear too?”  A perfect way to end an episode.

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