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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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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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Episode 56: Defining Your Brand With Lain Ehmann

Description

On this episode Bella spends time with Lain Ehmann, Marketing Strategist at #FastLain.

communication business

Lain Ehmann

Listen in as they talk about the mistakes small businesses make on their websites, including telling a story that your audience wants to hear vs. telling the story you want the audience to hear. Be mindful of your audience.

You will also learn how to make that message different between the mediums. In particular, be conscious of the frame of mind people are in when they are reaching out to you vs. when you are reaching out to them. Give them something they wouldn’t expect. Don’t sell them.

Messaging, which is “communications branding”, is critical to success. It is the message you are going to consistently send out to your audience that also helps you distinguish yourself from others in your niche. As a bonus, doing so may even allow you to charge more.

“Messaging is a tool to do that by defining who you are, what the value is that you provide, and the audience you provide that to.” – Lain Ehmann

The next logical step in the process is helping customers see that you can solve the problems they have.  You can drive customer motivation by tapping into their “pain points”. Bella recommends that you include the benefits of your online scheduling as part of your messaging.  Lain says that playing up your “secret sauce”, that unique niche that  you have identified, will help you reach those who need that service and even build your standing among those who don’t because they see how much you care.

They  also recommend doubling up on your marketing. For instance, doing a Facebook live with tips about dog walking and then putting a link to that under your services page.

Another common mistake Lain points out is that often business owners speak from their point of view and assume that the audience knows everything that they know. In fact, educating the audience should be an important part of your efforts. Make sure they understand the terminology and services you are offering. Lead them through your site to the call to action.

About Lain

Lain is a bestselling author and communications strategist, who specializes in helping six- and seven- figure entrepreneurs uncover hidden profits and potential – FAST.  Her superpower is saying what your customers and clients really need to hear, to get the results you want as quickly as possible.

Links mentioned in this episode

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Episode 54: The Power Of Telling Your Story

On this episode Bella spends time with Andrew O’Brien, Founder and CEO of The Publicity Guy.

public relations

Andrew O’Brien

They discuss:

  • Andrew’s compelling story.
  • How crucial it is for you to tell your story.
  • How to get your story out there.

Andrew is the founder and CEO of the Publicity Guy. They are on a mission to change the world of publicity. They don’t just want to get media exposure…they want their clients to be known across continents as authorities in their fields. Leveraging the limelight is the backbone of their strategy. Media exposure can be so much more than “social proof,” and their team can show you how.

ThePublicityGuy.com

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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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Episode 51: Selling Your Business With David Barnett

On this episode Bella speaks with David Barnett, an Author, Speaker, Educator, Seminar Host, Consultant,  and Business Buy/Sell Process Coach.

pet sitting small business

David Barnett

They discuss things you need to keep in mind when considering selling your business.  These include:

  • Biggest mistake pet business owners make when running their business
  • Understanding that there are several reasons people sell businesses. Most of the time it is not for retirement.
  • Learning that keeping your business in the best shape to sell (i.e. have strong processes in place) will actually benefit you even if you aren’t yet selling it.
  • When you will and when you won’t benefit by using a broker.
  • A high level overview of the selling process.

David Barnett has been working to help the owners of Small and Medium Sized businesses for almost 20 years. As a former business broker and financing broker, Barnett has helped people buy, sell, plan, manage and finance businesses. 

Since 2014, Barnett has authored 6 small business books, 3 of which have become Amazon best-sellers.

You can reach David in the following ways:

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 46: Website Copy, SEO, Blogging, & FB Live With Jen Phillips April

On this episode of “Bella in your Business” Bella speaks with Jen Phillips April, an SEO copywriter and social media trainer. They discuss different ways of impacting the traffic you get from search engines.

blogging SEO pet sitting business

Jen Phillips April

Specifically they discuss:

  • Website copy (the words on your website) and how you need to rewrite so people can find your page more easily when searching
  • The wide range of searches user are doing these days
  • How consistent blogging can affect your SEO
  • The importance of Facebook Live to attract customers.

Jen Phillips April’s online marketing journey started way back in 2005 with a dog treat recipe site. Using content and the best practices of SEO, she grew that site to 87, 500 visitors/month. These days, she works with clients like pet sitters and dog trainers. She writes their website copy so it gets found by Google (and their target market) and she also offers training on social media and SEO. When she is not working with her clients, she is usually reading a novel, practicing her Down Dog or cooking up a delicious meal.

Check out Jen’s free 5 day email course on “How To Gain MASSIVE Visibility with Facebook Live in Only 5 Minutes a Day — Even if You’ve Never “Done” Video Before.” 

You can find out more at www.jenphillipsapril.com

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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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Episode 42: How To Use Facebook Groups and Video In Your Pet Sitting Business

On this episode Bella speaks with Maureen McCarthy, owner of Love and Kisses Pet Sitting. Bella has found Maureen’s use of Facebook groups, social media, and video to be an awesome example of how to market.  Bella gets the scoop from Maureen, about how Facebook groups can be a great way to connect and expand your reach as a business. Maureen started a group for her own community called What’s Up Indiana Trail and it has grown like wild fire. Through it, she has been able to get more people engaged on her own facebook page and grown her business.

They also discuss Facebook Live videos – which if you’ve been listening to me for awhile, you know that I consider video as a MUST HAVE in your business. Maureen discusses with Bella how exactly she started doing Facebook Live videos with both her and her staff and the direct effect they’ve had on her business revenue.

She talks with Maureen about:

Facebook Groups In Your Pet Sitting Business

Maureen McCarthy

  • The Facebook group she started.
  • Why she started the group
  • How much work is involved
  • How successful it has been
  • How she got into doing videos

Her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianTrailPetSitter/

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 40: Positive Attitude & Opportunity With Tracie Hotchner

On this episode Bella spends time talking with Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible: Everything your dog wants you to know and The Cat Bible: Everything your cat expects you to know.

Pet Sitting Positive Attitude

Tracie Hotchner

Tracie is the host of 10 pet talk radio podcast shows on her own Radio Pet Lady network, including her NPR show “Dog Talk (and Kitties, too)”. She is also the founder of the NY Dog Film Festival which she travels with around the country after an annual premiere in NYC in November.

Bella and Tracie discuss how Tracie’s successes came about and the importance of positive attitude and a willingness to step through open doors.

You can find out more about Tracie and listen to her shows at RadioPetLady.com.

You can find out more at the NY Dog Film Festival, including a list of cities it is coming to, at DogFilmFestival.com.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 38: Branding & Content Marketing With George Thomas

On this episode Bella speaks with George Thomas, Inbound Marketing & Brand Strategist for The Sales Lion.  George also specializes in training people on HubSpot.

Content Marketing for pet sitting

George Thomas

George spent  15 years working in a traditional marketing agency to design and build websites and  other types of content. George then joined The Sales Lion where as an inbound designer and brand strategist. There his daily contributions include inbound strategy and design, HubSpot intensive training, speaking at conferences, content marketing, and social media marketing as well as business management and development.

George and Bella discuss branding. In particular, they talk about:

  • How to get started in video
  • How long videos should be
  • How often you should be putting out content
  • How to push your content in multiple formats
  • Changing your thinking to being a production company first.

To learn more about George, visit him at https://www.thesaleslion.com/meet-the-sales-lion/meet-george/

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Episode 35: Identifying and Overcoming Challenges As A Small Business Owner

On this episode of “Bella in Your Business” Bella spends time with Heather Dopson, Community Builder at GoDaddy.

Pet Sitters Overcoming Challenges

Heather Dopson, Community Builder at GoDaddy

Heather has a passion for digital trends and innovation along with a deep understanding of social networks, consumers and branding. As a Community Builder at GoDaddy, she leverages her skills as a connector and her drive to help small businesses succeed. Her mission in life is to help people lose their J-O-B and find their J-O-Y.

They discuss:

  • How Heather got to this position of Community Builder
  • Some challenges she sees happen in small businesses and freelance communities
  • How small business should owners determine what they work on themselves or what they outsource/delegate
  • The biggest opportunities she sees people overlook when it comes to driving awareness and driving revenue
  • “Beyond the Domain” a Facebook live series of videos she is doing for GoDaddy.

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Episode 28: How To Pet Sit for Aggressive Dogs

In this episode, Bella speaks with Jennifer Taylor, the Founder and owner of JenLovesPets, an award-winning San Diego pet sitting and dog walking company.

After sitting down with Jennifer in her home town of San Diego, Bella was so impressed with the vast knowledge and stories that Jen has that she immediately knew she had to be on a podcast with the intent to help elevate the pet industry when it comes to approaching and accepting clients who are aggressive or fearful.

In This Episode:

aggressive dogs

Jennifer Taylor, JenLovesPets.com

Bella and Jen talk about “aggressive” dogs and how people often lump fearful dogs into the same category. Jennifer discusses some of the causes of aggression and ways to overcome it.

Listen in as they discuss:

1. What is the difference between fearful and aggressive dogs?

2. What advice would you have for a sitter who encounters a fearful or aggressive dog during a consultation? What steps should they take to ensure their safety?

3. What if that situation was that pet sitter’s staff member? How can one train their staff to acknowledge these types of pets and alert management?

4. Tell me a success story with a two and four legged client and how you were able to create a happy environment for that pet (the one you told me)

5. Where can sitters go to get more education on this topic for themselves and their staff?

They also discuss how a pet sitter would go about working with a fearful dog by including dog behavioralists and trainers on the team. Jen also lists some great resources for those who want to work with fearful dogs.

Mentioned In The Episode:
The Pet Professional Guild – http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/

pet first aid training online

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Episode 22: How To Get More PR For Your Pet Business

Susie Timm, President of Knife & Fork Media Group

Susie Timm, President of Knife & Fork Media Group

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella spends time with Susie Timm,  President of Knife & Fork Media Group. Susie specializes in comprehensive public relations and marketing strategy in the gourmet food, restaurant and retail industries.

Gaining PR for your pet business can be wildly useful during the upcoming holidays, but if you get copies, you can also use it on your website and social media for months to come!

Bella and Susie discuss:

  • The importance of having a marketing and PR plan.
  • Creating interesting and useful event-based PR that then drive traffic and interest in your business.
  • How the “soft sell” approach works best when trying to get to exposure in mass media.
  • Some great ways to get yourself promoted on mass media.
  • Positioning yourself as an expert.
  • How great content drives traffic to your website.

You can find more information about Knife & Fork Media Group at KnifeAndForkMedia.com.

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Episode 21: How One Pet Lover Took Her Passion For Pets and United An Entire State with Woofalong

Darcy Graham, creator of WOOFALONG.COM

Darcy Graham, creator of WOOFALONG.COM

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Darcy Graham,  creator of WOOFALONG.com. The site, which shows you the dog-friendly restaurants, stores, parks, trails and events in Colorado, was launched earlier this year and is already looking to expand.

Bella and Darcy discuss:

  • The frustration that was the impetus for the site.
  • How Darcy compiled the list of locations.
  • What types of publicity Darcy has managed to get for the site already and how she did it.
  • The engagements her site has gathered so far and how she has gotten it to grow.
  • Her extensive use of social media.
  • What she has planned for the upcoming version 2 of the site.
  • The plans for expansion to other cities.
  • The potential opportunities on WOOFALONG.COM for business owners.

You can find more information about WOOFALONG.COM at, where else, http://www.woofalong.com.

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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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Episode 11: How To Do A #PetSitting Background Check Without Getting Sued

HOW TO DO A BACKGROUND CHECK WITHOUT GETTING SUED
In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined by Jason Waggoner, Vice President of Acutraq Background Screening. They discuss background checks and how important it is to get the right kind of background check when hiring an employee.

Jason starts off by explaining background checks and why using the quick, inexpensive background checks are ineffective. He emphasizes that these are good tools and a nice place to start but not reliable enough to base your decisions on, as affecting a person’s well being (by hiring or not hiring someone) based on inaccurate information can lead to costly lawsuits.

Jason explains how good professional background check companies like his follow up on hits from “multi-state” databases with checks in the local county for that given hit. This ensures that you have the most up-to-date record from the most accurate source.

Jason also covers the background check application you give to potential employees.  There are strict Federal guidelines (via the Federal Credit Reporting Act) on how that information is presented and what information must be included to ensure that applicants know exactly what they are agreeing to and how it will be used.  He cautions that failure to do so can be costly as some lawyers have been known to search websites, find non-compliant applications, and attempt to organize class-action suits against the company.

If you would like to contact Jason at ACUTRAQ, he can be reached at 281-727-0019 or at an email address which is mentioned in the podcast.

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Who Exactly Is An Expert?

small business coachingI once hear someone say “An expert is someone who knows a LITTLE bit more than someone else.” Hmm…This could be true, but it is also important to know who the expert is.

In addition to being an “expert” you need to have your niche. No one can possibly be an expert about everything. If they were, they would be God.

It annoys me to all get out when someone claims to know something about everything. We all know those people. They are usually the ones that either

a) End up messing everything up because of their ego or low self esteem.

b) End up leading the flocks of sheep into the loin’s den and not realize it until it is too late.

An expert, in my opinion, is someone who is proficient in a subject. They know a LOT more about something than everyone else. They are the ones that usually always have the answers, but are honorable and humble enough to say “I don’t know” when they don’t know.

An expert, usually has a niche. Niche. There is that word again. Webster define’s niche as a defined market. A defined market doesn’t include everything under the sun and beware of those who think their niche is everything under the sun.

Beware of know-it-alls.

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=371