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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 Pet Events You Can Copy in Your Town

One of the best ways to gain exposure to your pet sitting or dog walking company is to host or participate in a holiday pet event. But oftentimes we have no idea what to do, where to do it, or just feel like it takes way too much energy. When I used to have my company, Bella’s House & Pet Sitting for 14 years, I would participate and host many events.

These events became known in the community and offered me a lot of exposure and reason to walk up to people and talk about my company in a nonsleezy way. The events were successful and through lots of trial and error, I got them running smoothly. We had all sorts of prizes, giveaways, even a celebrity photographer at one event taking pictures of people and their pets. We had alcohol sponsors, rescue groups getting piles of money, and signs prominently hung outside of businesses with my logo on them.

The holidays are the ideal opportunity to host events and I am going to show you just some of the magic that you can create in your hometown area.

Here are 5 Holiday Pet Events you can host in your town:

  1. Yappy Hour
  2. Mutt and Mingle
  3. Dog Walking Club
  4. Dog Hiking Club
  5. Santa Paws

 

Pet Events

Yappy Hour/ Mutt and Mingle

Host the happiest of happy hour events with Yappy Hour or Mutt and Mingle. It’s a lot of fun to go to the local bar with your dog and especially for a holiday pet event. It can be an indoor or outdoor event. This is a great way to get your community together with their pups and strike up conversations about your business.

All you have to do is:

  • Find a local bar or venue to host the event
  • Get a liquor sponsor through the venue (they always have some)
  • Designate a photographer
    • You could either hire one for a couple of hours or have someone assigned to take pictures on their phone.
  • Decorate
  • Chat it up with all the attendees!

To take it a step further, you can add cute decorations like dog treats in shot glasses and host a raffle or giveaway.

 

Dog Walking Club

This great event doesn’t have to be just a holiday pet event, but can be a year-round, once a month event.

Here is how it works: Humans and their dogs walk all together in a pack, creating a community where you can get your brand out there to relevant people. Often times it is a one or two-mile loop.

The dog walking would typically work best in a subdivision or where there are a lot of apartment complexes, anywhere where you could walk a big circle. You may even be able to do a mile loop where you “pick up” and “drop off” people along the way.

The biggest advantage is all the advertising that comes with it at each apartment complex once they agree to it.

 

Holiday Pet Events

Dog Hiking Club

Are you a little more of an “off the beaten path” type of person? If so, a dog hiking club may be a better fit for you and your community than a typical walk around the neighborhood.

To do this, it would be very similar to starting a walking club but you would want to find hiking trails best suited for large packs and pups of all breed and ages.

If you have already created a blog with the best dog walking trails in your area, you might want to start with that. Consider reaching out to hiking clubs and see if they wanted to partner with you on an event with a twist… with the dogs!

 

Dog Park Date

Create a holiday pet event within the community you’ve already established and invite your clients to the dog park for a date!

With this event, it’s up to you to be creative on what the event will entail.

Will you host a raffle?

Will there be a flyball or find the treat contest?

This event is perfect to meet new people.

In doing so, you’ll be reaching out to the happy hour crowd who already goes to the dog park but now you’ll be able to get your name out there. While there, you may even meet people outside of your clientele.

 

Santa Paws

The classic Christmas celebration, taking a picture with Santa. No matter what you celebrate typically this type of holiday pet event attracts all types of people.

Host the event yourself by:

  • Partnering up with a local Pet Store
  • Get a trainer to dress up as Santa
  • Hire a Photographer or do it yourself
  • Order a Christmas backdrop off Amazon
  • Make the pictures available on your Facebook page
  • Invite everyone you know!

The Main Idea of Pet Events

The main idea of these pet events is to bring more exposure to your brand. You have to remember that not everyone is going to be ready to buy your services immediately, but getting to know you and what you stand for will make you memorable when they do need your services or even their friends.

Also, remember that these events are not about how many people show up to the event but all that you get to do to attract them to the event. All the promotions, fliers hung in the elevators or put in the pet store bags. All of this helps to ensure that your community gets to know your brand in a fun way that you are giving back and celebrating their bond with their pets!

 

superhero

3 Reasons Why Dog Walkers Need A Break

What if I told you that you are not a superhero? That you cannot save the world because we all have to save ourselves first?

I know it sounds strange to say. But it’s true! As pet sitters, we are always wanting to serve others from our pets, our clients, and of course, our families. This desire to serve others often leads to us putting ourselves last…

But that lifestyle is only sustainable for so long.

 

3 Reasons Why Pet Sitters Are Not Superheroes

 

We Have To Take Care Of Ourselves So We Can Take Better Care Of Others:

Take a step back for a second and ask yourself the following questions:

  • On an average day, how many meals are you eating at home?
  • Are you mostly preparing “on-the-go” meals?
  • How many meals are you preparing at home to take with you versus eating out?
  • How many drive-throughs are you going through in a day, week, or month?
  • Are you even eating enough (a.k.a eating BEFORE 5:00 PM!)
  • Do you suffer from having extra weight on your body that you really don’t want to have?

When we look at our lifestyles objectively, our choices will either shorten or elongate our lives. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to take care of ourselves first.

Plus, in my experience, the food I eat drastically affects my brain function and my ability to interact during the day. It affects how effectively I’m able to interact with myself and the people around me.

The bottom line? Take care of yourself. That is the #1 way we can make sure that we are our best selves for others!

 

dog walker

We Don’t Always Maintain The Best Relationships With Our Loved Ones:

I want you to ask yourself how many movies, dinners, barbeques, lunches, pedicures, hikes, etc. you’ve missed out on because you’re working? What about birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and the big one – holidays?

Maybe you’ve even gotten to the point where the people in your life are literally conditioned to think that you’re never available, so what’s the point of inviting you?

It’s a downward spiral that is too easy to fall into. We are so focused on growing our businesses, making our clients happy, and reaching that next milestone that we forget about the little (but important) things in life.

I don’t want you to have to live your lives like that, and I can pretty safely say that you probably didn’t start a business to not have a life! In fact, so many people start a business so they CAN have a life. They don’t want the corporate 9:00 – 5:00 lifestyle, but instead, want that time to spend with their husband and kids.

I am officially giving you permission to take your life back. You are allowed to say NO. 

There is a real danger that happens when we don’t eat right, when we don’t take care of our bodies, and when we don’t have relationships that matter in our lives. We get burned out, depressed, and negative. Life starts to feel like a frying pan hit you in the face. You feel tired, and those things you used to enjoy, you just don’t anymore.

I’ve been there. Sometimes I am STILL there. But my job is to give you that inspiration and motivation to realize that you are not a superman or superwoman – until you take care of yourself first! And yes, that means taking care of your relationships first too.

Sometimes We Put Ourselves In Danger

Don’t put yourself in danger anymore. Please.

Don’t take it upon yourself to take on that dog client that’s growling and snapping at you (unless you are a dog behavior expert!). Do not come in and try to save the day. It isn’t worth it. These scenarios are exactly how people get bit or otherwise severely injured.

I have countless stories on my podcast, Bella In Your Business, and my blog about pet sitters being bit in the face or even breaking a limb. You have to protect yourself and your business. I like to say that you have to be an advocate for your business. Why? Because nobody else will!

Know when to say no. Know that we cannot, unfortunately, take on every single client that gives you a call or sends you an email. If you do, accidents WILL happen.

I want to encourage you that even though you are not a superhero, it is okay not to be a superhero! If you are feeling alone in this industry (or even in this world), I want you to reach out to me. Use me as a resource.

I have an amazing Mastermind group with over 60 pet sitters where we talk about how it is okay not to be okay. We talk about how to support each other. Some of us are moving at full speed, while others are in cruise control. It’s great to be growing, but sometimes it’s also great to NOT be growing!

If you feel you are the same place you’ve been for 6 months, 12 months, or even YEARS, something has got to change. I can help you get there.

Let’s give you back that light inside of you, so you can shine it out to your communities.

Jump Consulting Mastermind

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.

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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.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 55: Financial Planning in Your Business With Paul Adams

On this episode of Bella in Your Business, Bella spends time with Paul Adams, President and Founder of Sound Financial Group.

business coaching

Paul Adams, President and Found of Sound Financial Group

They discuss:

  •  The roles finances play in our business
  • Why it is so hard for the self-employed to pay themselves
  • What happens when we don’t focus on being financially fit
  • Steps you should take to get yourself financially fit
  •  How Luke 16:10 pertains to building business & wealth.

Paul Adams is President and founder of Sound Financial Group where he and his team help clients maintain healthy balance sheets, stop forfeiting money unnecessarily to the IRS, and to build and protect their plans for the future. The cornerstone of his advice relies on the belief that people should always make their financial decisions based upon indisputable math and independent scholarship, not based on media hype, hearsay, or trend.

Paul is also an accomplished speaker and the of author two essential financial guides – Stop Burning Your Money and Sound Financial Advice – 
and in 2016 was interviewed by Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines.

Links

Also, Paul has made available a PDF copy of his book Sound Financial Advice.  E-mail Bella at bella@jumpconsulting.net for more information.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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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The True Cost Of Hiring Pet Sitters In Your Pet Sitting Business

If you have employees in your pet sitting business, then you know how valuable they are to your company. But you may not have considered the cost of hiring pet sitters in your pet sitting business.

Before we go into costs, I want you to think about how much a new employee could be worth to your company?

How much revenue are they capable of handling in a year? Write that number down.

Now let’s flip the script and think of how much does it cost to have an employee and look at it as an investment.

The True Cost Of Hiring Pet Sitters In Your Pet Sitting Business

cost of hiring

 

Personality & Background Tests

While completely necessary, personality and background tests can be a costly part of hiring pet sitters. Tests such as the Orion Test are an important component of getting the applicant’s story, but these things are definitely not free. Background checks also can cost around $30-$60 each time you run them. Needless to say, these things add up!

Fun Fact: Did you know that personality tests are illegal in Massachusetts? Sorry MA friends!

Training

Training is another large portion when discussing the cost behind hiring pet sitters. Not only are you investing the money into the pet sitter who’s training them (unless you do it yourself), but you’re investing time and resources.

If you pay the trainee, you’re also racking up a cost there. Hiring a new pet sitter definitely takes a lot of time and resources, so you want to make sure you’re training the right person!

New Hire Set-Up

It may (or may not) take quite a bit of time to get your new pet sitter “set-up.” This includes in your pet sitting software system and payroll company as well as setting them up with an email account and Google Voice number (if you do those things!).

Also, think about the time it takes to put your new hire on your website, complete with their photograph and biography. The point is it takes time to get your new pet sitter completely set-up in your company, so we have to include that when discussing the cost of hiring pet sitters.

New Pet Sitter Starter Kit

Do you provide your new pet sitters with supplies when they start with your company? This is something I personally never did in my company, but I know that lots of business owners do. This may include poop bags, first aid kits, business cards, magnets, fliers, bark cards, and more.

When you give these supplies to a new hire, factor in the cost. All of these items may be inexpensive individually, but like everything in business, it adds up!

Hiring Advertisements

Do you spend money for hiring ads on sites like Craigslist, Indeed, or Hireology? While these ads may have brought you in some quality applicants, this is yet another cost to factor in to the equation. Paid advertisements are great because they can have a much larger reach, but they can be costly and of course do add up. If you’re having trouble thinking of places of where to find pet sitting applicants, check out this article here.

Do you feel like you’re constantly pouring time and energy into hiring only to interview a ton of candidates that do not represent your ideal applicant?

One way this can be avoided is by streamlining your hiring process using a hiring software, such as JazzHR. Using JazzHR can give you the assurance needed to feel confident in every applicant and know that the cost of hiring pet sitters is being turned into an investment.

Learn more secrets to success on JazzHR and Indeed in my new article, here.

Conclusion

There is a clear and large cost to hiring pet sitters. However, it’s basically inevitable for any company with employees.

What’s important is that you recognize this cost, and then try to minimize it.

Minimizing both the financial cost and time spent by streamlining processes will make your business run smoothly and will make you a happier business owner!

Employee Handbook and Training Manual

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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pet sitting business coaches

The Problems With Pet Sitting Business Coaches

Finding a coach that clicks with your personality and your vision for your business can be difficult. As with anything in business, there are tons of problems that can arise when trying to work with pet sitting business coaches. Let’s discuss some of those problems as well as some ways you can address them, to ensure you’re working with the person that’s right for you.

pet sitting business coaches

Knowledge About Types Of Business

First and foremost, ask yourself whether or not the pet sitting business coaches you’re considering has knowledge about the type of business you run. You don’t want to want to hire a dog walking business coach when your business mainly focuses on pet sitting. Or at least you want to know that they understand the different types of operations for both. The same goes for the topic of ICs and Employees. Some specialize in this, some have an area of influence in one over the other. To truly understand this, you have to know exactly what type of business you are building. One size doesn’t fit all here 🙂

Booking Availability

Is the coach you’re considering easy to book with? Do their times available fit your schedule? Can you book them through a software, or do you have to email back and forth with time zones to set something up? Remember – your coach is going to be advising you on how to streamline your business processes. So if their booking system isn’t streamlined, this could speak to the scope of their process and the advice they can provide. You don’t get a second change

Industry Ties

How is the coach you’re considering tied to the industry? Did they once run a pet sitting company of their own? What other prominent figures in the industry do they have relationships with? Most importantly – are they qualified to be giving you advice about the pet sitting industry? Consider the fact that it can be easy for a person to look good on paper (or a computer screen!), but if they haven’t actually DONE the things they’re giving you advice on, it may be difficult for them to teach you how to implement and execute. Don’t be afraid to ask them to prove it to you. They should be happy to!

Proven Track Record

Has the pet sitting business coach worked with other pet business owners? If so, what RESULTS have they had? Look deeply into the reviews and testimonies that coaches have. The reviews that really speak to a coach are ones that talk about results and growth. Not reviews that are simply talking them up but give no explanation why. Just because somebody has all 5 stars reviews doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best – look deeper into what people say and learn how to read between the lines. Is the success quantifiable? After all, you want a return on your investment, right?

Costs

One of the biggest problems with pet sitting business coaches is cost. Some are cheap, some are in the middle, and some are expensive. But the real problem here is figuring out what cost SAYS about the coach. I talk more on this fact in my blog, “How Much Does A Pet Sitting Business Coach Cost?”

Downloadable Material

You might want to take a look at the amount of downloadable material that a coach offers. What form is it in? E-books, workbooks, audio files, or video files? Which method do you learn best from and can retain the information from? How many downloadable resources does the coach have, and are they continually adding to their library? These are all crucial questions you want to figure out the answers to, before giving your business and livelihood to a coach so you can make sure the format is what will work for you.

Free Material

Most coaches will have free material you can read, hear, or experience before committing to them. You can find this on blogs, podcasts, info-graphics, and 20-30 minute coaching sessions. This can help you get a big feel for the coach to see if your two styles click. Keep in mind that not only is the coach committing to you, you are committing to the coach! You don’t want to make the mistake of putting your business in the hands of someone you don’t mesh with.

Support

While your coach is there to support you, it’s important to be able to reach them in other ways besides your one-on-one sessions. Determine whether or not the coach has Facebook groups, is accessible by email, phone, etc. Facebook groups are especially valuable because you’re not only going to connect with your coach, you’re getting to network with other pet business owners which you can learn and grow from.

How Do They Solve YOUR Problems?

When you do that free coaching session or even first session with your coach, think about how they tried to solve your problems. Are they just listening to your troubles, and acting more as a therapist? Yes-ing you to death? Or are they really coaching you, getting to the root of the problem and giving you sound advice that you can execute? Determining the difference between the two can be hard, but if you walk away from the session still feeling lost, you may need to consider whether or not you’re really benefiting from that coach’s style.

Do They Offer Different, Unique Solutions To Your Problems?

It’s really critical that your coach isn’t just giving you general industry advice. You want them to give you unique solutions to your problems that work for YOU and your business. Think about it – if your coach is giving the same advice to every client, this can really saturate the industry and make it difficult for you to stand out.

The most important problem to figure out when considering pet sitting business coaches, is to figure out what you’re looking for. This is really similar to hiring, in that if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll find out once you hire the WRONG person! If you’re aware of the qualities you want in a coach, you will know once you find that perfect person.

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partnership agreements

Partnership Agreements: The $40K Pet Sitting Business Lesson Learned

When you start a pet sitting business, you never think about the end, right? You start your business, all excited, with all these hopes and dreams of changing the world and having all this freedom and flexibility to do what you want.

Right? 

Or maybe you already have this wonderful business going part time or full blast and you meet that (what you think is) love of your life. You get married, no prenup, because let’s face it, neither one of you is made of money… and you live happily ever after.

Or do you? 

Or let’s even say that you and your friend or co-worker decide, “heck! we can do this together!” and you start a business together, skipping down the yellow brick road singing along together. You think this is great! I get to be with someone I trust and make money doing what I love.

But is that true?

partnership agreements

When Beth Green came to Arizona to do a little R&R and business boot camp, we felt strongly that we needed to share her story. We needed to warn the pet sitting industry about what could happen to your business. As we both point out in this video, it is almost irresponsible not to plan for a business dissolution. We plan for marketing, finances, customers, employees, but not an exit plan? It is easily forgotten in the mix, which is why Beth & I really wanted to bring home this very important message.

Why Do So Many People Forget About Partnership Agreements?

A partnership agreement is a document that you sign when you first start a business or a legal relationship (like a marriage) explaining what each other’s roles are in the business *and* what course of action you have agreed to take when one partner wants out of the business relationship. Without these partnership agreements – your business is left exposed and all your hard work could go down the drain.

 

How Easy Is It To Get A Partnership Agreement?

It is as easy as typing it into your friend, GOOGLE, and then editing it to your satisfaction. Have a lawyer give it a look over, and sign it in front of a notary.

If you are starting a business together, the obvious time to do it is at the beginning when you start. For marriage, it would be a prenup. If you are already married, it would be a post nuptial or a partnership agreement.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Partnership Agreements?

Sit down because you might not like this answer. The options are basically this:
1. You have to remain business partners until one of you caves in.
2. One of you will have to buy the other out and argue over what the business is worth.
3. One abandons it and creates a lot of problems.

I am not a lawyer and there might be more scenarios but this is what I have seen as a business coach.

If Your Business Partner Dies, Their Beneficiary Could Also Come After You:

After I posted this article, I got lots of examples flooding in of other people who have dealt with the fall outs of not having a partnership agreement. Take a look at the lesson Lauren’s family learned:

pet sitting partnership agreements

How Important Is This Really Bella?

Honestly – if you are married right now, you need to have this document. As they say, the only thing that is definite in life is death and taxes. I have had about 3 calls in the past 1.5 years about people freaking out because they are getting a divorce and they are scared that they significant other is going to take away the business. They are terrified because it is their livelihood. Their job. Part of what defines them as a person!

It is VERY real.

 

Another True Story That You Have To Read:

Soon after this post went live, I had another pet sitting business owner come forward and tell me her story. She agreed to go on record and have me share it here with you to show you all that this stuff really does happen….

Jessica Greenfield writes:

Hi Bella!
So my story is very long…. Lol. But I’m going to sum it up and give you the parts that are relevant to the topic at hand. Because I could seriously write a book about my experience with being married, starting a business, drug addiction (my ex, not me!), business failure and divorce…
But what really resonated with me about your video with Beth was when Beth said everyone thinks that nothing will ever happen to their relationship because you are in love and everything is great. Or something to that effect… That’s exactly what I thought too.
While my ex husband and I were engaged, he was laid off from his job. The factory he was working at went out of business and we found ourselves wondering what we were going to do. He made 3x as much as I did at my job so it was a hard hit. After a while of not being able to find another job, my ex wanted to start his own business. He had bad credit so of course, I told him to put everything in my name. He started an online business while I worked full time at my job and helped out here and there. I was able to quit my job after a few months and things were going great (or so I thought). We got married and moved out of our house and converted it to a store. Unfortunately, after just a short time, I realized that things weren’t quite right… money missing, I was being lied to about things, and he wouldn’t let me do or look at any of the financials. I found out my husband was on drugs and driving our business and our entire lives into the ground.
Long story short, we went out of business and got divorced. But everything was in my name. My ex moved out of state and avoided getting the divorce papers for almost a year. I needed to file bankruptcy asap so I could start repairing my life and move on but I couldn’t do this until the divorce was settled. So, after much drama and BS, I decided to suck it up and we each took all the debt that was in our own names. I walked away with $400,000 in debt and he got a $1,500 light bill….
So, my story is a little different than Beth’s. Beth had a successful business that her husband was not a part of and then a divorce while I had a husband with a failing business that I was not a part of (I was merely an employee – not part of the business part of things) and a divorce. But I think the moral of the story is the same. You need to protect yourself and make sure you are prepared for any situation. You may think you know your partner, but things change. Business puts so much stress on your relationship. You change, your partner changes, and you are so busy that you may not even notice until it’s too late. Too late to fix things, too late to remain civil and act like grown-ups… Then what?
Believe me, it’s not a good place to find yourself in.

 

If you have a story and you want to share with the world to help inspire others, just post in the comments below or reach out to me and I would be happy to add it here. I want to help as many people realize how uber important it is to have a partnership agreement in their company!

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marketing tips for pet sitters

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pet Sitting Business Marketing

Are you stuck trying to decide the best ways to implement effective pet sitting business marketing? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there at some point or another. I completely get it.

I know that there are so many different tools and techniques that you as a business owner can use when trying to market your business. So many, in fact, that it would be impossible to invest in all of them. So today, let’s talk about the most effective (and ineffective!) ways that I’ve found to have effective marketing your pet sitting business.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pet Sitting Business Marketing

pet sitting business marketing

Do: Community Newsletter Marketing

When I still had my business, one of my most successful forms of pet sitting business marketing was running my ad in a community newsletter. In fact, it worked so well that at one point I had a client on every single street in the community I advertised in. I know this strategy can work for you, too!

The community newsletter that I’m talking about here is a newsletter or magazine that goes out to a certain neighborhood or homes. These typically show owners the values of their homes along with homes for sale, events going on in the community etc.

Keep in mind that this is NOT a newspaper!

To market yourself in the best light possible, come up with an innovative, creative idea for your ad. I know this is easier said than done. But I promise you if you put your brain to work and come up with something stellar, the payoff is huge! Try to thing of something catchy to say that draws your eye and outshines the other ads in the newsletter.

Another important factor to consider is your ad placement. Think about this. When you’re reading a book or a magazine, the most natural place for your eyes to fall is the top right-hand corner. They don’t go towards the middle or to the bottom left-hand corner, right?

This is why placement is so important. You want your ad to be seen, and the best place to do this is the top right-hand corner. If you can’t get that spot, then I would say that the middle on the right-hand page is the next ideal.

I touch more on this topic and others in my video below: How To Know If My Marketing is Working?

Don’t: Mailer Marketing

You may be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute Bella, you just told me I should advertise in community newsletters. How is this different than a mailer?

The thing is really breaks down to is use. In community newsletters, people have somewhat of a use for them. They either are interested in the value or their home, or want to see what events are going on in the community. They’re more likely to keep this newsletter around on their kitchen counter or coffee table. And by keeping the newsletter around – they’re keeping your ad around!

Mailers do not do these things. Think of when you get junk mail. You sift through it for a couple seconds and then boom – trashcan. If you send mailers, this is exactly what’s going to happen to you. Plus, sending things in the mail is expensive. You’re not only paying to make your ad look nice and pretty, but then you’re paying to ship it.

This is a lot of time, money, and effort for very little to no payoff. If you’re going to invest in mailed marketing, community newsletters is definitely the way to go. Why? You will be paying to have your ad run, but then you’re done. You don’t have to worry about shipping it and getting it in the hands of people. It’s a much more cost-effective form of pet sitting business marketing – and has a greater use.

Do: Community Booth Events

Community booth events are the second best form of pet sitting business marketing, directly under the community newsletters. Many of you have probably heard me talk about this topic over and over again – but for good reason! It is because they are so effective that I write so much on them.

While community booth events can be incredibly successful, they can absolutely make or break your business. This is not to sound harsh or mean, but to encourage you to make your booth the absolute best it can be. Community events are a fantastic way to get yourself and your name out there while meeting tons of potential new clients.

They are a chance for people in the community to get to know you and your business. There are going to be a bunch of other businesses there as well (maybe even other pet sitting companies), so you want to make your booth two things: interactive and memorable.

Your goal is to both to connect with people but also to capture their information in a non-obvious way. By this I mean doing something cliche like a raffle that you have to enter with your name and email or simply just having a clipboard where people write down their information (yes I have ACTUALLY seen this here!) is not going to work.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – consumers are way too smart for these gimmicks! So you have to get creative and crafty.

To learn more about the specifics about having a rock-star pet sitting booth, check out my other articles here:

9 Must Have Elements To Have a Howling Pet Event In Your Community

What You Need To Have A Successful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event

How To Have The Worst Pet Sitting Booth At A Local Event

Don’t: Newspaper Marketing

At first glance, newspapers may seem great because they have the potential to reach a lot of people. For instance, my local newspaper is the Arizona Republic, which is state-wide. You might think I’m crazy for not advertising here, but hear me out!

First of all, you’re not going to want to put your ad into a newspaper that covers the whole state or even multiple cities. Why? Because you don’t want to be spending the time, money, and effort to send your ad to areas of your state that you don’t service.

Next, even if you are thinking about putting your ad into a smaller newspaper that is for your town only, it’s probably still not a good idea. Aside from the fact that the number of people that actually read newspapers anymore is declining, newspapers are huge and daunting. They are filled cover to cover with tiny print and tons and tons of ads. So your ad is likely to get lost and not seen by many.

Plus – newspaper ads are expensive! I recommend steering clear of them as far as pet sitting business marketing goes and just sticking to the community newsletters.

Whatever You Choose, Implement and Track!

Regardless of what type of marketing you do, you MUST do these two things: implement and track. It’s not enough to just try a new marketing technique and leave it at that. If you’re not tracking your marketing, you will never know whether or not it’s bringing you desired results.

So, whenever you get a new call or email ask the question,”How did you hear about us?” Compile a list of responses, and the you will really be able to tell where your most effective marketing techniques lie.

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Expand Your Pet Sitting Business To A New Area With These 4 Key Steps

Expanding. It’s both a scary and exciting concept, right? And it’s definitely not easy to expand your pet sitting business. You not only have to market to these new areas of town, but also make sure you have the proper amount of staff coverage to expand to your new area.

Today we’re going to take a look at step one, which is marketing to this new area. As much as we wish that business would just start pouring in as soon as we expand our service area, this simply isn’t the case. Expanding is hard work, but there some crucial keys to success that will help you simplify the process.

Expand Your Pet Sitting Business To A New Area With These 4 Key Steps:

expand your business

 

If You’re Not On Page One Of Google, You Don’t Exist

Think about the last time you needed a service, a new restaurant to eat at, or a phone number. Did you pull out your dusty old phone book and look up different businesses one by one? Of course not! You Googled it.

The Internet, Google in particular, is an extremely powerful tool that can make or break your business. One of the first things you should do when you decide to expand is to go to Google, and search the area you want to expand to, followed by pet sitting (or dog walking, pet care, dog walker, pet sitter…)

Essentially you want to check out your competition and see if it’s feasible to get on the coveted first page of Google. If you’re trying to expand into an area with 20 existing pet sitting companies, it is doable but you need to be aggressive with your content marketing strategy. But, if you find a nearby area with only a few pet sitting companies with small online presences, bingo… that should be pretty simple.

Expand Your Online Presence, THEN Your Business

A beginner mistake that I’ve seen lots of pet sitting companies make is allocating way too much time to in-person marketing, and not enough to online. Think about this for a second. You could pay to have a bunch of mailers sent out to homes in your new area,  – and then what? People stare at it for a few seconds before inevitably tossing you into the trash. It hurts, but it’s the truth!

Instead, pour this energy into your online presence. I’m talking blogs, videos, podcasts, the whole nine yards. This content lasts essentially FOREVER. If you can get enough blogs and articles out into cyberspace, pretty much any time anybody googles something pet related, your website will pop up! So much better, right?

But the work doesn’t stop there.

Once you get people onto your website, you want them to stay there. You can do this by having a top-notch, user friendly website. You have only a few seconds to get somebody engaged with your website, so you want to make them count. Do this by having impeccable navigation and solve people’s problems rather than talk about yourself! 🙂

 

Expand Your Pet Sitting Business Presence Within The Community

When you’re trying to expand your pet sitting business, you want to get to know the community and have the community get to know you. One of the best ways to do this is to get an ad in your community newsletters. So many people read these, and if you can get your ad to stand out, this will fare even better for you.

Be certain that this is a newsletter or magazine that goes to a certain number of homes showing home values in the area. This is NOT a newspaper as those tend to only cover a small percentage of your area and your advertsiment will get lost in the sea of text and ads.

True Story:
When I still had my business, my ad would print in the newsletters upside down!  The caption read: “We see things a different way. They are not your pets. They are your kids with fur.” And you know where everybody’s eyes went first? Right to my ad. It got so “bad” that the newsletter eventually started putting “It’s supposed to be upside down” right next to my ad. Imagine how many eyes that drew?

If you can come up with an innovative idea like this, I promise, it will outshine the other ads in the newsletter, this is an extremely effective way to expand your clientele.

Another great way to expand your community presence is to participate in community booth events. But – they have to be done the right way. The day and age where businesses could use gimmicks such as “Write down your email to win this prize” or “Guess how many treats are in the jar” are over.

Consumers are WAY too smart for this kind of stuff now. They know exactly what you’re going to do with their information, and they don’t want any part of it.

So, you have to get creative. You could have people take a picture with their pet in a hat or doing something silly and then email them the picture. I’ve also written a couple blogs already on how to have awesome community events, that you can check out. They explain exactly what to do, and not to do.

9 Must Have Elements To Have a Howling Pet Event In Your Community

What You Need To Have A Successful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event

How To Have The Worst Pet Sitting Booth At A Local Event

Wow – This All Seems Like A Lot!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your business. So when you’re trying to expand your business, take it slowly, one step at a time. Start with your online presence as that is key. You have to have your website appearing on Google as much as possible. When you have the time, then go for the community newsletters and events.

But again, work at a pace that is right for you. Everything in business is a process, and as long as you are continually making meaningful strides towards your goal, you will succeed. Just don’t give up and remember to use your team and the tools at your disposal to help you along.

Here is a short video I recorded on one way I would go out and get more clients in a saturated area TODAY… I even provided a download for you to get your own template and script.

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