Posts

How to Build Trust in Your Pet Business on Social Media

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

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

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

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

 

Trust on Social Media

 

Your Why and Your Purpose

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

What is your why?

What is your purpose?

Your purpose is made up of three equal parts.

  1. Inspiration
  2. Vision
  3. Innovation

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

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

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

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

Identify and live out your why and your purpose. 

How We Share in Person Vs. Social Media

Social media is the face of your business.

What kind of stories are you telling?

What kind of stories are you hiding?

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

Do you want to blend in or stand out?

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

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

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

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

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

Show your emotions and let your personality shine. 

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

 

Jump Mastermind

 

Identifying Your Unique Traits

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

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

The six categories of sharers, outlined by Bryan are:

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

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


Human on Social

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

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

Body Language and First Impression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are human, talking to a human.

Trust and Delegation

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

You need to delegate.

Bryan recommends practicing making agreements with your staff.

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Just click the image below!

Build Trust

 

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!

 

Holiday Tips

Episode 171: Hiring Tips for Finding Staff During the Holidays

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

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

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

Take back your Holiday season!

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

Hiring During the Holidays

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss

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

You can take back your Holiday!

Show Highlights

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

Hiring During the Holidays

Links

Share the Show

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

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

 

Join Jump Mastermind

Play
scheduling social media

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

Today, I am going to explain to five strategies to show up on social media when you just feel like you don’t have the time.

Let’s face it, I’ve never, ever had anyone come to me and say…

“Oh, I have all this time, and I need to do something.”

These tips are going to be quick and dirty because I know how busy you are.

scheduling social media

5 Strategies To Show Up On Social Media

Here they are:

  1. Find time for things that are important
  2. Recycle your posts
  3. Schedule time in your calendar
  4. Use scheduling software
  5. Hire someone for the creative and the strategy

Let’s go over these in a little more depth!

 

1. Find Time For Things That Are Important

If you really want to do something, you’re going to find the time. So let’s just acknowledge that first.

So, if we’re not finding the time, what is the reason why we’re not finding the time?

Do we not really want to do it? Do we not really see the value in what social media can do? And, what are you doing where you could easily be recording?

After you get off the phone, you could write a post.

You could say…

“I just got off the phone with this brand new cat client. She usually never has a pet sitter, but her grandmother passed away and she needs to fly. And, the only thing she’s really concerned about is with her cat. So, we were able to help her by doing x, y and z.”

What I’m saying is, tip number one is to find the time, seize the moment, and figure out the different things that are going on in your life right now that you actually could leverage.

 

2. Recycle or Up Cycle Your Posts

The second tip is to recycle your posts.

You have all this amazing effort and energy that you’ve done. Why waste it?

leveraging technology

by Brian Fanzo

It’s very easy to go into the insights of your Facebook page. And, the charts there will show you what’s performed well.

You can go back to those posts and reshare them or copy and paste them to schedule the post again.

Your insights will show you what your community is actually reacting to.

 

3. Schedule Time In Your Calendar

Schedule time in your schedule like you would have pets.

I know that many of you would never actually miss out on a dog walk.

Let’s make social media a priority.

That can be 10 or 15 minutes a day, every other day, once a week, something, but if you aren’t scheduling it in like something that you absolutely need to do, it’s going to be really hard to show up on social media when you feel like you don’t have any of the time.

via GIPHY

 

4. Use Social Media Scheduling Software

Number four is to use scheduling software.

There are software programs like:

The one that I really love is Agora Pulse because it is like the Lamborghini of social sharing.

One of the best features is social listening, which means anytime anyone says your name, your company’s name, or maybe your area and name, you get an alert for in your Agora Pulse.

Now, I do not suggest that you actually allow Agora pulse to give you notifications in your email, because that can get a little overwhelming.

Sometimes, people say I don’t want to use scheduling software, because it won’t show up on social media. And, that just is not the case.

I have scientific evidence that shows that posting from a third party platform does not actually make it not get seen. I think there was a time like two years ago when that happened, but not now.

If it makes you feel better, you can use Facebook’s native scheduler.

While you can automate the scheduling, you cannot automate engagement. You really do want to just check-in and try to talk with people.

 

5. Hire Someone For The Creative And The Strategy

Now, the fifth and the very last one is going to be to hire someone for the creative and the strategy.

This is a more expensive option, but it ensures that the job gets done.

You can create the graphics and then let the other person schedule them. Sometimes the problem with this is that they don’t know when to post it or what to say.

 

Conclusion

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

  1. Find time for things that are important
  2. Recycle your posts
  3. Schedule time in your calendar
  4. Use scheduling software
  5. Hire someone for the creative and the strategy

But how do you actually come up with the stuff, right? How do you come up with ideas when your brain is just like wants to explode?

You’ve got:

  • So much stuff going on
  • So many different projects
  • Clients calling
  • Employees asking you questions
  • Your kid tugging on you
  • Your husband or wife wondering what’s for dinner tonight,
  • To pick up the kid pick up from school

Right?

Better Marketing with Bella

So the last thing that most of us as business owners have is the ability and the time to be creative.

This is where Better Marketing With Bella comes in.

We only open up the doors twice a year and it’s coming up.

Here’s our process for new people joining:

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

You can join the waitlist here.

See you inside the program!

Episode 166: How To Use Email Marketing In Your Pet Sitting Business

Email marketing is something that a lot of business owners have an adverse reaction to. They think they’re bothering people, no one opens them, and they don’t know what to say. Despite being able to batch them and schedule emails, not many choose this path. But why?

In a world where Rover is killing it in the inbox by sending emails to the people on their list at least once a week, why can’t professional pet sitters who can surely be even more effective, intimate, and relevant do this? Today, I want to break it down to show you how I use email marketing and how you can, too.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Email marketing is a great way to keep your audience up to date with what’s going on in your business and humanize your business. Send weekly updates and use the P.S. section to ask them to respond, opening up the line of communication. Your emails don’t need to be long and drawn out, they should simply add value to your reader’s life. With each email, you’re able to show a bit of your personality, this is what people connect with, so be as personal as you can. Specifically, videos are a great way to show your personality and personalize your emails. And remember, on social media, you don’t own your audience, But with your email list, you do!

If you’re still not sure what to write or really don’t have the time to focus on email marketing, I get it. That is why we provide you with two short and fun emails to send to your clients each month in the Better Marketing with Bella program.

Show Highlights

  • How can you recap your week in an email? [3:20]
  • What should you put in the P.S. section? [4:30]
  • How do you segment your audience for better email marketing? [5:35]
  • How can you add value? [6:30]
  • What can you do to build a bond with your audience? [7:00]
  • What’s one of the best ways to share current sales you have? [7:40]
  • How can you personalize your email marketing with videos? [8:05]
  • What does it mean to “own” your audience? [8:30]

 

Email marketing

Links

Share The Show

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

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

Better Marketing with Bella - Social Media Solution

Play

How To Use Email Marketing In Your Pet Sitting Business

Email marketing is something that a lot of business owners have an adverse reaction to. I hear a lot of the time they think they are bothering people, no one opens them, and they don’t know what to say. Despite being able to batch them and schedule emails, not many choose this path.

But why?

In a world where Rover is killing it in the inbox by sending emails to the people on their list at least once a week, why can’t professional pet sitters who can surely be even more effective, intimate, and relevant do this?

One thing that I don’t see acknowledged is how much email marketing IS one of the only social platforms that you can still control. Although there are still algorithms involved, it is one of the best-producing ways that you can spend your marketing time.

Some people even feel like the email is interrupting their day or is just always spam.

That, my friend, is stinking thinking.

If you make them interesting, people are going to want to read.

Today, I want to break it down to show you how I use email marketing and how you can, too.

8 Ways I Use Email Marketing In My Business

Here’s a brief summary of the ways:

  1. Give a recap in a weekly email
  2. Directly talk to my readers
  3. Segment my audience
  4. Deliver value
  5. Have you get to know me
  6. Deliver sales
  7. Send videos
  8. Own, not rent

 

If you would rather listen:

 


 

1. Give A Recap In A Weekly Email

There is no way everyone can possibly see or keep up to date on everything you do.

Even if you are lucky, only 15-25% will open your emails.

However, that’s more than you would have normally, so isn’t that a good sign?

At Jump Consulting, I publish a blog every other week, a podcast every week, and sometimes do a Facebook Live. I also always have something cooking on the back burner, too, and the weekly email is how I can do this.

Pet Sitters and dog walkers can do this, too, by telling people the situations they were able to help that week:

  • Cat sitting for someone whose grandmother passed away in another state
  • Walking the puppy that has too much energy
  • Helping to care for a dog during the schedule changes of a divorce

All of these examples help to humanize your business and show people how you are able to help your clients.

If you have any great IG or FB stories, or posts that got lots of interaction, or a local event coming up… these are all great to put into the newsletter too.

2. Directly Talk To My Readers (With A P.S. Section)

At the end of an email, you can always insert a P.S. section.

I do this when I usually ask questions. It is always interesting to see the replies I get. I often call the reader to action by asking them to hit reply and tell me something.

PS email

Because of this, I’m able to get the line of communication open to start chatting.

The P.S. can be powerful because most of the time we are reading on our phones and scanning the email. Not reading word for word. But where does the eye end?

You guessed it, on the P.S.

Another fun way to use the P.S. section is when you have a really long message and you put a short amount of text in the body, have your signature, and then a longer P.S.

For some reason, people are more willing to read the P.S. than the body of the message.

 

3. Segment My Audience

Another quick and fun way you might want to use your email is to segment your audience.

You might have seen me ask you a few times in the emails…

“Are you a starter? Builder? Scaler?”

email segment

 

This question has buttons attached where I ask you to press the one that matches.

My email marketing system then tags these people and we know just where they are in their business. It helps so I can send specific messages that will speak directly to their problems.

The way a pet sitter or dog walking company can do this is simply by asking…

“Do you have dogs and cats in your home? Dogs? Cats?”

Press which applies.

There, you can send dog-specific emails or cat-specific emails. After all, a cat client doesn’t want to hear about how you are looking for two more dogs to walk M-F, am I right?

 

4. Deliver Value

Emails are a great way to break the mold and send a quick message that is out of the ordinary.

How about…

“Meet me at the Fall Festival Sat 2 pm. Bring Fido! Let me know if you will be there” or something short and sweet like “Wondering where to get your Santa Paws pictures this December? Check out this list we made. Tailwags, COMPANY”

Short and sweet. It doesn’t have to be long, drawn-out with text boxes everywhere, and be boring and it shouldn’t talk at all about how great you are.

It should add value to their life.

 

5. Have You Get To Know Me

Emails are a great way to communicate your personality to your current pet sitting clients and your prospective ones.

For example, you may have certain traits or live your life in a certain way that identifies with people.

Maybe it’s your religion, ethnicity, favorite sports team, or favorite dog/cat breed.

The more that you can build a relationship with your audience, the more that they are worth to you. If you spend time getting to know your audience and allowing them to get to know you, then your bond will be strong.

The key is to be as personal as you can. That’s what people identify with.

6. Deliver Sales

Email is one of the best ways to communicate with your audience about the sales that you have.

Maybe you’re running a holiday discount. Or, offering a discount for first-time clients.

You can do that with email.

And, the delivery rate will be much higher than social media can provide.

Most business owners cite an email list as the reason why they’re successful — because the sales come from there.

 

7. Send Videos

Videos are a great way to interact with your audience!

I even have an introduction video in my email signature that explains who I am and why I’m in someone’s inbox.

Videos can be a great personalized touch for welcoming clients into your business. Or, even around the holiday season as a thank you for their business.

The videos don’t need to be perfect or sent to an editor. Simply show your personality and people will appreciate it!

send video in email

8. Own, Not Rent

Let’s have a quick chat about owning vs. renting your audience.

On social media, you don’t own your audience. If Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram decided to shut down, then you wouldn’t be able to retain any of that traffic or exposure.

But, with your email list, you OWN them. 

You could take those people and continue to market to them regardless of what happens.

That’s the power of an email list and why you want to own your audience, not rent them.

 

Conclusion

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

  1. Give a recap in a weekly email
  2. Directly talk to my readers
  3. Segment my audience
  4. Deliver value
  5. Have you get to know me
  6. Deliver sales
  7. Send videos
  8. Own, not rent

Do you already do some of these with your emails? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Tell me how I can help you get more clients in your pet sitting business!

Are You Still Not Sure What To Write?

I get it. I mean after all the admin work, pet sitting work, social media work, who has time to sit down and think about something that would be interesting to your clients? Then write it, format it, get graphics, and send it out. Oie. Not another thing to do Bella!

I know, I know, I get it.

That is why we provide you with two short and fun emails to send to your clients each month in the Better Marketing with Bella program. Rover is doing it weekly – how often are you doing it?

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

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

One of the biggest challenges marketers (that’s you!) face is getting their community to know about their pet sitting business.

We don’t need the entire world to know about our services, just a saturation of those geographically the closest to us.  We need to get them so excited that they are the top of the mind when the need arises for themselves or their loved ones.

I specifically say excited because being known typically means that you have a certain emotion that is being evoked, which means people might not always remember exactly what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

This is the secret sauce.

But how exactly can we become known to our community beyond the usual posting on Facebook, having a blog, a website, Instagram, and shaking hands and meeting other pet business professionals in the area?

This phenomenon is what is your brand saying about you when you are not there? Do you know? Or, not saying anything because people don’t know you can be just as bad.

What Do You Want To Be Known For?

Getting known has to do with getting clear on what you want to be known for. What makes your business unique? There are hundreds of businesses in your area that take care of pets and there are a lot of friends and family that can do it, too.

So, what really makes your business unique and different?

Often times this isn’t the facts or what you do, but it is the how you do it all that matters. That leaves the feeling that gets people talking.

Answering this question will be the key to your success.

Your Unique Competitive Advantage

If your brain is coming up blank I want you to take a minute and listen to this podcast episode when I had Jennifer Diepstraten on. She talked about quantum benefits and it was really enlightening to see how our businesses really were different.

I want you to try to think of 3 – 5 things that your competitors can’t say that you can.

Use these questions below to help you fill in the blanks:

Are you memorable for your:

  • Story?
  • Name?
  • Logo?
  • Operations?
  • Cost (high or low)?

Use this in all your marketing.

Talk about it at events. Make it apart of your unique story that no one else can tell. Mark Schafer is really good at this. He is the author of KNOWN — The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age.

He presented in the Mastermind and really pushed our beliefs on how exactly we were accomplishing this in our own marketing…

How we were going to stand out and actually hold space for the pet parents in our community to actually belong.

Check this out:

 

 

Pretty powerful, right?

That is the type of goodness we have in the Mastermind.

It was really eye-opening as to how to stop doing the same things that everyone else does and start doing the unique things in our own business marketing.

So How Can We Stand Out On Social Media To Be Known In Our Community?

Ah!

This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

I mean we know that 68% of Americans use Facebook. Oddly enough the same exact percentage also have pets according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey

(Side note…I thought that was crazy that they are BOTH 68% when I was writing this article too! LOL) 

There is no doubting the fact that our clients are on Facebook. Instagram is close behind. They are the sister to Facebook and growing just as fast.

Did you know that over 70% of users are under 35 years of age? Do you also realize that the buying power of this segment is major with many waiting until much later in life to start a two-legged family so they are able to pour a lot of their discretionary income into their four-legged loved ones?

We have to know the latest trends in social media.

We have to know how to connect with others, but we also have to know how to get them to:

  • Reshare content
  • Spread it virally in their local community

Even though likes are going away on Instagram, (did you know that?) we can still show the social proof of the engagement of the people who actually stop their scroll long enough because they find us interesting or relevant enough to interact and respond to our posts.

The Value Of Being A Resource In Your Community

Do you want to be a drive-by or a destination in your community for the best pet sitting business?

Imagine being the first thought of pet resource in your community. I am talking about getting all the calls from people saying things like…

“I need something for my pet — I know you don’t provide it, but I thought you would know.”

This basically means they are thinking of you as the thought leader or expert in your town.

This is powerful.

This is top of the mind awareness. But if you have no unique presence, no professional presence online…

Then this is going to be pretty hard to accomplish.

We need to stand out on social media by having professional graphics, captivating captions, and reactive engagement with our communities.

 

Here is Exactly What You Can Be Posting Every Month To Be Known (And Shared) In Your Communities:

 

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

 

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

  1. Facebook Lives and Blogs: Write two blogs that are meaningful and follow them up with a Facebook live (record the video to embed in the blog post)
  2. Professional Graphics: Post at least 8-10 professionally made graphics with an interesting description that reflect your branding, logo, and colors. The graphic is there to capture attention and the copy is there to engage the reader.
  3. Videos: Once a week, create a square video for Instagram and be sure to convert it to vertical for Facebook to have the most visibility across platforms. Be sure to keep it to a good time limit and not to overpower the message as an advertisement.
  4. Facebook Video Cover: To give an impression that you keep up with your marketing, are trustworthy, and up to date on all the new things, impress your viewers with a new Facebook video cover each month highlighting something relevant to the time of year.
  5. Email Marketing: Since Rover is sending emails out weekly, I highly suggest that you do yours at least twice a week. Make it about your clients, be relevant, use minimal design elements. The sole purpose of this is to elevate you as a thought leader. Even if they don’t open it.
  6. Instagram and Facebook Stories: The viewership of these two platforms is growing exponentially. Creating stories in real-time WITH professionally produced graphics that link together for a common message is powerful and underutilized. Not to mention, very much reusable as you build an arsenal.
  7. Thought Leaders: Follow social media thought leaders like Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook and Jenn Herman, the world’s forefront blogger and author on Instagram to stay in the loop. They’re both my friends. 🙂 Follow them. Read every update.

 

Conclusion

If you do all of this, you will be well ahead of your competition and other pet sitting businesses in your area.

You will be perceived as a thought leader, someone who is on top of it all, and someone they can trust.

You will want to connect with other key influencers in your area and prompt them to share your hard work so you can be helpful to them and their brand, their communities, and of course expand your own.

Better Marketing with Bella

If any of this seems overwhelming, you can actually get all that is listed above and more for the lowest price ever offered via Better Marketing with Bella.

Join us for a six-month contract to get all the graphics, captions, square videos, cover videos, vertical videos, blog/video outlines, emails, individual and group coaching calls, and more.

 

Social Media

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

People come to me all the time saying that they have no idea what to post on social media. They are staring at the cursor and have no idea what to say. All this pressure is mounting to try and be witty, to be different. If you’ve ever felt this way, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’m sharing seven things you can do when you’re lost on what to share on your social media.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Be inspiring to your community and think local. Are there events in your community that you can get involved with? Or another local business or person you can shout out on social media? Highlight your community and connections. You are the expert. You have put in all the time and have learned a lot. Share your knowledge you have. Also, tell stories to draw out the emotions of your viewer. People remember how you made them feel, not what you said. If you don’t have the time to prepare your posts or think of ideas, Better Marketing With Bella can help by providing graphics, videos, captions, hashtags, Instagram stories, and more. Everything you need to stay active on social media with your branding to market your business.

Show Highlights

  • How can you inspire others? [1:10]
  • How do you keep track of everything? [3:00]
  • What are some ways to be funny on social media? [4:55]
  • How can you leverage local events in your community? [5:55]
  • What are tips that you can share with your audience? [7:50]
  • Who can you feature or shout out on your social media? [9:40]
  • How can you tell a story on social media? [12:20]
  • What if you don’t have the time to do these things? [13:50]

 

Social Media

Links

Share The Show

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

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

Better Marketing with Bella - Social Media Solution

Play
community

Episode 163: How To Get Your Community To Know About Your Pet Sitting Business

Picture this… there’s a huge gala going on in your community. Everyone is dressed to the nines and it’s a very high ticket event. There are local celebrities there and while at dinner they’re talking about their pets, imagine if your company’s name came up.

Here’s another example, you’re in a local Facebook group and someone is about to go on vacation, but they forgot to book a pet sitter until the last minute. They were so focused on creating a great trip and their normal pet sitter isn’t available. They ask the group who they use for pet care, wouldn’t it be amazing if your company came up overwhelmingly in the comments?

What would you do if your entire community knew about your pet sitting or dog walking services? How would that change the face of your business? Today, I want to talk to you all about how to get your community to know about your business.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Getting known has to do with getting clear on what you want to be known for. Often times this isn’t the facts or what you do, but it is how you do it that matters. There is no doubting the fact that our clients are on Facebook. Instagram is close behind. You want to be the thought leader or expert in your community, but if you have no unique presence online it’s going to be hard to accomplish. Each month you should be writing blogs, creating graphics and videos, sending emails, sharing IG stories, and more. That might seem overwhelming, but Better Marketing With Bella can actually provide those things for your business with your branding, ready to post each month.

Show Highlights

  • What is one of the biggest challenges for you and your business? [4:40]
  • What sets you apart from your competitors? [6:15]
  • How can you stand out on social media? [8:30]
  • What should you be posting each month? [11:40]
  • How can you use Better Marketing With Bella to help? [17:20]

 

Community

Links

Share The Show

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

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

Better Marketing With Bella

Play
Marketing Problems

3 Problems Everyone Has With Marketing Their Pet Sitting Business

Marketing is something that either comes naturally to you or you despise. Have you ever had that moment where you’re lying awake at night wondering how to bring in more clients that you WANT? Or how to stop getting calls, texts, and emails from the clients that you don’t want?

You just hired a few incredible people and you don’t want them to lose interest (because we all know how hard it is to find great people) but you just don’t have any clients to give them.

Or you’re on the edge of working 100% in your business and want to hire but also doing a balancing act where you don’t give up all of your work. Your bills need to be paid, so you can’t give up your clients to the first person you hire. Things would be easier if you had a steady stream of clients coming in, or your name was everywhere in the community so that you had a bunch of new clients to give to your new hire.

You hope that when the residents in your town think about pet care… they think about your company.

Does any of this sound familiar?

That is the result we all dream of but honestly, it is really hard to get there.

marketing - hard work

The most common challenges I see pet businesses face around marketing are not having the time to do it, the money and resources to fund it, or the creative juices to create it.

Can I get an Amen?!?!

I Don’t Have The Time To Market.

Your to-do list probably has a to-do list. You are running non-stop all day and you might be surviving off fast food, sugar, and caffeine. I see you. Busting your tail trying to hold it all together, wishing for the day when things weren’t so busy. Even when a day comes when you finally have a few hours to work on the business something happens. You have a mental breakdown, you don’t have the energy, or it just isn’t the day.

We all have 24 hours in a day yet there are people who are far more impactful. What do they have that I don’t? How can I make an impact like them? Maybe you’re wondering how these 7-figure companies that I talk about pull it off.

One 7-figure mama who I work with comes to mind. She lives at a dog kennel, runs a large dog walking business, homeschools her two sons, and takes regular vacations. I am in awe of her. The mental power it takes to accomplish all of that is inspiring.

But she doesn’t do it alone, she has teams that support her, the family, and the business. She also has incredible will power and determination to succeed! She could say she doesn’t have time to do everything but she makes the time.

I’m sure you could be checking something off of your to-do list now, but somehow you ended up here. 🙂 Maybe you feel like you haven’t spent all of your time well. You dream of having more time to learn something new, work on the business, or plan dinner.

Time is one of our most precious commodities. It almost always gets in the way of business owners working on marketing within their business.

Marketing time and money

Marketing Uses Resources And Money.

In addition to taking a lot of time – marketing also isn’t cheap. When you think about how much an hour of your time is worth ($50? $100?) and how many hours you can put towards marketing, it is costing you a lot. Not only in time (for things like finding a designer and a scheduling software to help…) but also to fund the designer and the software to help streamline your efforts.

If you are like me when I used to have my pet sitting company of 14 years, you would binge on creating marketing materials and then go stale for a long time. It was only when you were feeling creative or found a designer that new materials were created. Then you might regret hiring the designer because there goes lots of money out the window. $500.00+ each time it seems.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have someone to help us schedule the marketing – but then that is all that they can do. They can’t create the campaigns and they don’t know how to do hashtag research. They take 3 times as long to do something that it would take you. It costs a lot of money to produce all the marketing efforts.

It Is Challenging To Be Creative When You Have No Brainpower.

You know exactly what I mean…. I hear it all the time “I am so burnt out” and you know what happens then? Good-bye all the cute marketing ideas you might have had to create a new program, event, design, etc.

When your brain isn’t functioning or you’re permanently running on cortisol and stress, there is nothing left to get creative and be inspired. Have you ever logged onto Facebook to see that it was “international dog day” and everyone is sharing pictures? Now you just feel down and out because you think “why didn’t I know it was national dog day?”

All these special days are starting to get out of control, don’t you think? BUT — it is a great talking point, and you are in the pet industry, so it does make sense for you to jump on the bandwagon.

Feeling the pressure to post something, and not having the time or software to create anything, you just end up sharing someone else’s “international dog day” content.

There. It’s done.

But is it really? The lack of time to plan, resources to create, and creativity to produce something have lead you to make the worst decision. Which is sharing someone else’s content, because it’s only helping them, not you.

Golf Clap. Bravo.

Gosh, This Is All Tough, Right?

Who the heck is looking out for you? Who is there to be creative for you? Know exactly what works in your dog walking or pet sitting business? Something where you don’t have to constantly be finding vendors, spending time mapping it all out and deciding when to post the content, or trying to figure out the best software to make things?

Oh, and then goes what? Instagram and Facebook changed their algorithm….. again!

I got news for you – it happens multiple times a year and just when you think you have “beat” the system, it changes. And now we are all back to square one.

But what if you had someone in your back pocket? Someone with their ear to the ground… breaking down every conference and announcement that Facebook and Instagram makes? Knowing some of the top marketers in the social media space? What if you knew someone who had a proven track record in generating hundreds of thousands of dollars from social media? What if I took all the guess work out for you – gave you videos, graphics, outlines, content calendars, coaching sessions, IG and FB stories, captions, cover videos, and so much more?

I’ve Got Your Back.

Did you know that I have a program called Better Marketing with Bella? Did you know that every. single. semester. the program changes because social media is always changing?

What worked on social media in January 2017 isn’t what is working right now.

Did you know that if you type “comment, share, or like” in your description, you will not be shown in the newsfeed? Do you know that in 2017 you could post a description and still be seen in the feed and now your best chance of being seen is video?

Do you know there is no one else in the industry creating white-label videos for people like you – who have pet sitting and dog walking businesses to use on their platforms? Videos that are interesting, don’t all look the same, and that have your colors, logo, and font on them? Yeah. It is huge!

Listen, for the lowest price EVER – we are opening the doors soon for Better Marketing with Bella. You can get one of the limited seats, but the doors will close soon and it won’t be an option until 2020 to join for the second half of the year.

Even if you are the tiniest bit interested, you should fill out the short application – this will be time well spent, with money that won’t break the bank, and creatives from professional designers that would cost you thousands of dollars a month if you wanted to hire them privately to just do your brand.

Better Marketing With Bella

Facebook Groups

Episode 160: How To Use Facebook Groups In Your Pet Sitting Business

What would you say if I told you I had a way for you to get in front of a lot of local clients? And that you could have a way to position yourself as an expert in your community? Well today I’m really excited to talk to you all about Facebook Groups!

We’ve talked about Facebook Groups two other times on Bella in Your Business. The first time was way back on Episode 42 with Maureen McCarthy and then again on Episode 110 with Erika Godwin, but today I’m actually going to take it to a higher level. Over the past year I have been flying around the country, and soon the UK, to speak on this very topic. I have been able to grace some pretty big stages and been called an expert on Facebook Groups so I thought that it was only fair to bring it to my audience.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Your Facebook page is like your front yard, while your Facebook Group is your back yard. There’s a gate to get into your back yard, so it’s more private and it’s where you host a party, entertain your guests, and invite them to mingle. You want your group to Be The Destination by becoming an expert in your local community and connecting with other businesses in your community.

Show Highlights

  • What has Facebook said about Facebook Groups? [2:30]
  • What is the front yard and back yard analogy? [5:20]
  • How can your group Be The Destination? [9:15]
  • How do you create content for your Facebook Group? [13:05]
  • What questions should you ask people joining your group? [15:00]

Facebook Groups

Links

Share The Show

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

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

Facebook Group - Mastermind

 

Play
Charge - pay online

7 Considerations When Deciding What To Charge Your Clients

Knowing what to charge our clients is always a hot topic. It is hard to figure out if we should base it off of what others are charging, the averages, stay competitive, or something else. There is a fear that if we charge too much, we won’t have any work or a bunch will leave. So whether you are just starting out or have been in business for a long time, the following will be a timeless message.

Charge - pay online

What Are You Charging For?

Duh Bella… pet sitting and dog walking you might be saying. But what if I told you that is what everyone else is doing and you should be different!

How?

Easy. Are you charging for a service that takes someone’s problem away and gives them a certain positive feeling or are you taking their money and giving them X amount of your time?

It is really as simple as that and it is something that many don’t think about. Most pet sitting websites look like this:

15 minutes = $18
30 minutes = $22
45 minutes = $25

We walk, feed, play, and love on your pets just like they are our own.

Blah… blah… blah…

Now if you are feeling a little irked at me for saying that, I beg you to stay with me and hear me out. What I just showed you above is what the majority of business owners present. How about presenting a problem that you take away and then give them a positive feeling?

Like this:

Lunch Time Let Out: Never worry about racing home in the middle of the day from work to give your dog relief. Take back your lunch break and relax while we let the dog out. TLC, Water, and love always included.

Puppy Visit: Congratulations on your new addition! Just like babies, puppies are a lot of work and we are here to help save your carpet and furniture by keeping your same training schedule so your carpets don’t get soiled and your furniture gets chewed. With our help, your puppy can learn the rules of your house at an early age with the consistency we provide. We reinforce the words you are using and get all their puppy energy out.

Do you see how one is like a menu and the other is more emotional? Take some time to think about what you are selling and how you are selling. This basically comes down to quantity vs quality. 

charge - sign up online

How Is Your Sign Up Process Presented?

We did an interesting experiment in the Mastermind. We pretended we were a new client for 9 of the members and timed how long it took for us to be able to check Pet Sitter/Dog walker off of our to-do list. The average sign up took about 8-10 minutes. Some we couldn’t even sign up.

Side note: If you are in the Mastermind and didn’t watch yet, it is in the Processes Unit 🙂 

Did you know that 60% of the sale is over by the time you even hear from the client? 60%! Imagine how many people are actually going to your website but not converting. Do you know why? It just might be because of the user experience on your website. How easily can they get what they need or sign up? Most of the time if people have questions, they will NOT ask you.

I feel like many business owners are quick to blame it on the price. The price is too high… I can’t charge that much, which might be true, but it is neglecting to look at the full picture and this part of the picture is called User Experience.

What Do You Upcharge For?

Upcharges are those additional fees for extra pets, time or tasks. Consider a few things here:

  • How does it make your client feel when they have a base charge but then all these add ons? Does it focus them on the price?
  • If you charge by time (ie. 15 min and 30 min…) then are you always leaving a bill if you or your staff is there for extra time? Like 20min or 25min? or are you just leaving money on the table? Who decides how long the job should take?

In other words, will your charges be all-inclusive or al la carte?

Will You Put Your Prices On Your Website?

This is a tricky one that really depends on a number of factors. I will do my best to break it down:

Put them on your site if:

  • You have a cheap price.
  • Your ideal client is a price shopper.
  • Your website is not professionally created.
  • You do not have a software where the client can automatically sign up without speaking/emailing you.
  • It is a very simple fee structure.

Do not put them on your site if:

  • Your price is average or high.
  • Your ideal client thinks of their pet as their baby or this service as a luxury.
  • You have software that is simple and easy to sign up.
  • Your website is professionally created with a user experience (UE) that really is impressive.
  • You have problems that you solve on your site, not exchange for time and money.

I am sure there are even more factors, but basically, you don’t want the price to be the determining factor. No one is going to buy from you because you have a pretty website. Price is a factor but when it is introduced into the conversation is important. That being said, if you choose not to have your prices on your website, your call to actions need to be on point (and easy). You also need to address it somehow like, “Prices starting at X.” or “Email/call to find out about our current monthly special” 

So when you are trying to decide what to charge consider if it is important to you (or not) to have your prices on your website. That will play a factor when determining what to charge.

charge for dog walking

Will You Always Be Solo Or Will You Have Staff?

This is a tough one and where business planning comes into play. Obviously, you have a lot larger piece of the pie if you are just solo. However, if you ever want to bring on staff, you must start early in understanding the numbers and what it will take to run a healthy operation. The pricing structure and strategy guide is great for this. This will be a factor in deciding what you should charge.

How Much Does A Visit Cost You?

Have you ever done a cost analysis of how much a visit costs? How much it takes to acquire the clients, wear and tear on your car, gas, your time, supplies, admin work for the actual booking, etc? There are a lot of hidden costs that I don’t think many take into account. This is going to be your expenses. They must be covered and then some. Especially if you have or will have workers in the future.

Will You Be Giving Raises? and When?

Something else to think about when deciding how much to charge is that wiggle room. You want to be able to leave some room for raises. Think about how much you will want to give and how frequently.

it is math

Math not Emotions

At the end of the day, you have to remember that deciding what to charge is a mathematical equation and it is not a popularity contest. If you have a keen understanding of all the things that will go into creating your price, you will have a much easier time at the actual marketing of your services. Even though XYZ Pet Sitting company does the same thing as you – the experience and quality are very different. Am I right?

It is exactly why a Ford Fiesta costs $13,000 and a Tesla Model X costs $80,000. Ultimately, both vehicles get you from Point A to Point B bu the experience in which they accomplish the transport is completely different.

How do you think of your business? There is no right or wrong answer. It just all needs to tie into your end goals for what you want from your business.

Most people I talk with want to do less work for more money, be disruptive in their market, have a steady flow of clients, and happy employees who love their pay.

How about you? Tell me below. I want to know!

Jump Start Your Pet Business - What should you charge

instagram secrets

Episode 158: BEST OF BELLA: Instagram Secrets For Your Pet Business With Jenn Herman

Today we are replaying Episode 116 with Jenn Herman as part of the Best of Bella series. Jenn literally wrote the book “Instagram For Business for Dummies” and she is a wealth of knowledge. She is incredibly insightful, she talks fast, drops lots of value bombs, and you are sure to learn stuff from her.

instagram secrets

Show Highlights

  • Who Is Jenn Herman? [2:25]
  • Why Do I Need Instagram In MY Business? [4:30]
  • What Are The Different Ways Consumers Can Use Instagram? [6:55]
  • How Do We Figure Out HOW Our Audience Consumes Instagram? [10:25]
  • What Tactics On Instagram Can We Use To Build Our Local Following? [13:10]
  • Should You Always Use A Location Tag? [17:25]
  • What Kind Of Strategies Can I Use For Hashtags? [18:25]
  • How Often Should You Post On Instagram? [26:20]
  • Why Should I Have A Kick-Butt Instagram Page? [29:20]

 

Original Show Notes

It’s no secret that Instagram can be a powerhouse social media platform for your business – but I see so many business owners that are just NOT using it to its fullest potential. If you’ve been wanting to dive deep into the inner working of Instagram and learn useful Instagram secrets, then today is your day!

Jenn Herman is a social media consultant, speaker, and globally recognized Instagram expert. She is the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing and her blog, Jenn’s Trends, has won the title of a Top 10 Social Media Blog in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Through her blog, consulting, and speaking Jenn provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium-sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing and she enjoys bringing all these skills together to help you grow your business. Jenn has been featured in Inc., Fox News, Yahoo Finance, HuffPost, The Verge, CBS Radio LA, and numerous other podcasts and publications. She is the author of “Instagram for Business for Dummies”, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram” and “Stop Guessing: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy”. Learn more about Jenn on her website http://jennstrends.com.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • Above all, you have to have a consistent strategy. Being active and taking the time to implement the strategy you develop is key.  Your processes will drive the results that get you clients, regardless if you have 50 followers or 50,000 followers. What matters is who’s going to find you and bring you business. Build an amazing community of the followers you have and use strategic efforts (i.e. hashtags, stories, following events) to turn that into business.

 

instagram secrets

 

Special Offer

  • Pick up a copy of Jenn’s book, Instagram For Business For Dummies, on Amazon here: http://bit.ly/IGBizDummies

 

instagram secrets

 

Share The Show

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

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

Episode 157: BEST OF BELLA: Coaching Your Pet Sitting Employees To Success With Niki Ramirez

This week for the Best of Bella series we are replaying episode 95 with Niki Ramirez. Niki is a wealth of information for everything human resources related, she is also a monthly guest in the Jump Consulting Mastermind. A lot of pet sitters and dog walkers may think that they’re too small to afford an HR specialist like Niki, but in actuality, it’s one of the biggest things you can have on your team. Listen intently to see how she helps pet sitters and dog walkers and everything you can learn.


pet sitting employees
Show Highlights:

  • What is coaching and why should we coach? [6:20]
  • What do great coaches do to unlock the best potential of their employees? [10:50]
  • Are there different types of coaching? And when should we implement these techniques and why? [14:50]
  • Is there any easy way to say “I’m going to be coaching you?” [16:30]
  • How can you coach stubborn pet sitting employees? [20:20]
  • How can you find Niki and tap into her resources? [25:20]

Original Show Notes

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

 

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

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

Links

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

coach

Share The Show:

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

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

coach

Play
Lain Ehmann

Episode 156: BEST OF BELLA: Defining Your Brand With Lain Ehmann

Bella chose episode 56 with Lain Ehmann to be part of the Best of Bella series because it was one of the most downloaded episodes of Bella in Your Business. Bella and Lain dive in deep on branding and how to make your website stand out. They talk about figuring out who you are as a brand and a business, Lain even offers a free download to help you!

brand

Show Highlights

  • Who is Lain? [3:25]
  • What mistakes do small businesses make on their website? [4:30]
  • How can you correct the issues? [7:00]
  • What is messaging? [9:50]
  • Should all businesses be concerned about branding? [18:00]
  • How do you share your marketing across different platforms? [20:40]
  • What is something businesses shouldn’t do in messaging? [23:50]
  • Where can you find out more about Lain? [27:20]

Original Show Notes

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

You will 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. 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.

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

Play
Navigating Social Media

Episode 155: BEST OF BELLA: Navigating Social Media with Mari Smith

We’re taking it back to episode 93 on this edition of the Best of Bella series, when Bella had the sincere pleasure of interviewing Mari Smith. She knows everything that is going on and she is the nicest, most approachable woman Bella has met in the social media space. They had fun talking about the ins and outs of social media and Bella wanted to bring her to you all again.

Original Show Notes:

Navigating social media can be pretty difficult, especially when it comes to your online business. Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is hailed as the premier Facebook marketing expert and one of the most influential and knowledgeable new media thought leaders in the world. In fact, Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to go on tour with the company to teach business owners across the United States how to grow their businesses using Facebook!  Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.”

social media

 

Mari is an in-demand speaker and travels the world to keynote and train at major events. She also serves as Brand Ambassador for many leading companies.  She has over 1.7 million followers on her various social channels and is the author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

 

 

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • How did you become such an expert on Facebook? In order to become an expert, you have to put in 10,000 hours into your skill. Be unwavering in your focus. FOCUS= Follow One Course Until Successful. It helps you keep on track.
  • Overall it is a universal mindset with fear-mongering. You can get really upset or you can be a calming voice of how to overcome or make a change regarding a problem you see, like pet food recalls or puppy mills. Mari encourages us to be the calming voice.
  • You have to be mindful of what you post for relationship marketing. Treat people with respect and use proper social etiquette even online. Ask yourself “would I be comfortable with this…appearing on the front page or on a google search. Even more, would you be okay with your Mom seeing it? Quiet your ego and try to diffuse tangents. Don’t be drawn into petty conversations. There are always screenshots that will be your digital ink.
  • How can you add value to your business with Facebook? You become a leader in social media by using groups and stories. Have a good strategy for your stories and you easily convert your personal Instagram to a business Instagram and have those post directly to your Facebook, which drives traffic to your website.

 

Navigating social media Mari Smith

Show Highlights:

  • Mari’s expertise in Facebook and how she got started on her path to becoming the “Queen of Facebook.” [3:30]
  • How to FOCUS for success [7:45]
  • Creating meaningful relationships on Facebook [10:50]
  • New business skills that everyone needs [14:10]
  • Benefits of setting up Facebook Groups [16:30]
  • Advice on how to build your online community [24:00]

Links:

Find more about Mari Smith and her new book at www.marismith.com

Check out The 12 Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes Businesses Make at http://www.marismith.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/12_Social_Media_Mistakes-MariSmith.pdf

Downloadable Offer:

Free PDF download. Mari Smith’s recommended Video Gear List for Facebook Live broadcasts:www.marismith.com/fblive

Share The Show:

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

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

Episode 154: BEST OF BELLA: Customer Experience With Joey Coleman

Bella chose this episode to be part of the Best Of Bella series because it is with Joey Coleman. She first saw him live at Social Media Marketing World 2017 and his presentation skills blew her out of the water. Without further ado, she wants all of you to experience Joey and his First 100 Days methodology.

Pet Sitting Customer Experience

Show Highlights

  • How has Joey done and accomplished the things in his life? [4:40]
  • What is the First 100 Days methodology? [8:10]
  • Is there a direct correlation between telling stories and solving problems and value? [12:50]
  • How can business owners create a meaningful customer experience? [15:00]
  • How can employees get involved? [28:45]
  • Where can everyone find and connect with Joey? [30:50]

Links

customer experience

Original Show Notes

On this episode, Bella catches up with Joey Coleman, Chief Experience Composer of Design Symphony. They talk about things you can do as a business owner to create a meaningful customer experience like:

  • Sending personalized gifts to your customers seemingly at random.
  • Sending handwritten notes thanking them for trusting you with their fur baby.
  • Keeping track of simple things like the pet’s birthday and sending acknowledgments.
  • Doing a monthly quick check of the pet (for any issues).
  • Giving the pet a bath unexpectedly.
  • Sending quick personalized videos of you and the pet to the client.

For over a decade, Joey has helped organizations retain their best customers and turn them into raving fans via his entertaining and actionable keynotes, workshops, and consulting projects.

His First 100 Days methodology helps fuel successful customer experience endeavors at companies and organizations around the world.

As a recognized expert in customer experience design and an award-winning speaker at national and international conferences, Joey specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing customer experiences.

He works with companies ranging from small VC-funded start-ups to large Fortune 500s, with hundreds of mid-size businesses in-between.

Joey developed his narrative skills as a criminal defense trial attorney, advised and counseled Fortune 500 companies as a business consultant, honed his communications and messaging skills at the White House, and did things for the U.S. Secret Service and the CIA that he can’t talk about publicly.

His design and artwork has been displayed in museums, featured in juried shows, and graced publications in the U.S. and abroad. When not traveling the world (48 countries and counting) for keynote presentations, client workshops, and quality beach time, Joey enjoys watching magnificent sunsets from his mountain-top home in Colorado with his wife and two young sons.

Play
hiring

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview

The Hiring Gauntlet

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

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

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

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

Interview

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

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

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

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

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

Value-based vs Skill-based Questions.

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

Let me give you an example:

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

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

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

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

How do they take feedback? Are they adaptable?

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

 

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

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jump Mastermind - Interview

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

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

Interview with a state auditor

Show Highlights

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

Interview with auditor Best of Bella

Original Show Notes

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

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

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

Main Topics

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

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

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

Resources

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

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

Play

How To Automate Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

GSuite: 

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

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

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

Boomerang:

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

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

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

 

Pet Sitting Software:

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

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

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

1. Accounting

2. Customer service

3. Software updated?

4. Mobile version or app?

5. Communication

6. Credit Cards

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

Loom:

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

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

Agora Pulse:

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

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

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

Payroll:

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

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

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

For a great company, take a look here

Credit Cards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hiring:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Quickbooks Online:

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

 

Project Boards:

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

Google Analytics:

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

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

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

pet sitting facebook group

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We Google Everything.

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

Google, right? 

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

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

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

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

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

Content Marketing in 2019 is Like the Gold Rush.

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

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

How much does it cost (in the area)?

What are the problems with the product or service?

How does it compare with others?

What are other people saying about it?

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Repurpose & Upcycling Your Blog

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

get more pet sitting clients

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

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

 

How Does Blogging Help Me Get Pet Sitting Clients?

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Marketing with Bella

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

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

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

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

State of the pet sitting and dog walking industry

State of the Pet Sitting & Dog Walking Industry 2019

State of the pet sitting and dog walking industry

 

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

You might wonder if all businesses are like yourself?

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

I bet you wonder if you are making enough?

Charging enough?

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

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

 

major shift pet sitting industry

 

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

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

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

They fail and learn from it.

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

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

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

 

 The Consumers Are Changing From Baby Boomers To Millennials

 

pet sitting software

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

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

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

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

 

Want to learn more about this change? 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to Learn More About Buying and Selling Your Business?

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

Rover And Wag Have Entered The Room

 

This is one that excites me and here is why.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything is relative.

Want To Learn More About This Topic?

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

 

Regulations Are In Full Effect

 

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

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

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

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

Get Notified When My IC to Employee Program Launches

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

 

Pet Business Sales

Want To Learn More About This? 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Adam Smith, Co-Creator/Developer, Precise Petcare

 

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

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

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

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

 

pet sitting and dog walking industry

My Predictions for 2019:

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

 

 

Pet Industry Dreams

How Can You Achieve All Your Dreams With No Sunlight?

 

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

Your brain and your business is the same exact way.

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

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

Let’s do this together.

 

 

What Do You Think?

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

office manager pet business

How To Hire A Manager For Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business

As our industry grows, we are no longer in the infancy stage. In 2018 the industry is expected to earn 72 billion dollars with 6 billion being in the pet services sector. Pet sitting companies that were once run my mom and pop now are full-fledged business needing to hire a manager to help run the entire operation.

You are reading this because you too need to hire an office manager for your pet sitting or dog walking business but face the challenge of so many questions. Today, I am going to answer them all in the most comprehensive blog post to get your tail wagging!

office manager pet business

 

Can I Even Afford To Hire A Manager?

Obviously, I am not sitting next to you right now, looking over your financials so what I will say is this: Can you afford not to? Do you think that your business can keep growing with you doing all the scheduling, bookings, charging, social media, public events, triaging client and staff problems?

Wouldn’t you like to take a nap in the middle of the day? Have regular family dinners at home at a sensible hour? Not feel like you are running ragged all day and night?

The answer to this question is only one that you can answer, but I would venture to say that if you are reading this now, we can find a way. Most pet sitting and dog walking office managers make between $10-$15 an hour.

If you have the Pricing Structure and Strategy Guide, you will understand that this money can come from the 30% that is allocated to the business.

Not Labor.

Part Time:

This is how I encourage lots of my clients to start. I tell them to start handing the business over on Friday through Monday because those are the days where you typically have minimal calls and volume.  It is a great way to start off. This will also help you (and them) gain confidence in the position. Some businesses pay by the hour, while others pay per the day because the volume is so unpredictable.

Full Time:

This would be a full-fledged M-F gig where you pay someone by the hour and let them do it all. It could mean 30 hours a week or more and they would be your right-hand person and the first line of defense. Sort of like a gatekeeper. Some businesses pay a flat salary, while others pay by the hour.

 

hire a manager

How Do I Train An Office Manager?

When you hire a manager it is going to be a big learning curve for you, the business owner, who does this every day. There is a good amount of prep work that you will have to do and that would include creating an office manager manual where you write down all the systems and procedures that you do in your business.

I have a great system that I have shared on video inside the Jump Mastermind that has delivered great success to many businesses. This can often be the toughest part of the task because we tend to get long-winded and either over or under explain what needs to happen. It is important that you have a system in place to test your instructions.

 

Jump Consulting Mastermind

How Do I Know If The Office Manager Does A Good Job?

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is being a micromanager. Or, as one of my friends call it a “helicopter CEO”  You don’t ever want to be like this because it will not create a long-lasting relationship with that manager. They will think you don’t trust them and quit.

Rather, consider systems that help promote smooth back end workings. For example, I have a great video inside the Jump Mastermind that shows you a google spreadsheet that tracks all the calls and emails that come in from new clients. From this small sheet that takes 30 seconds to fill out, the office manager and the business owner are able to be on the same page.

No phone calls required. At any moment both the manager and the business owner can see who has called, what the outcome was, and even what the close rate is. After all, you will want the manager you hire to have a BETTER close rate than you already do.

 

What Do I Do When A Manager Doesn’t Do A Good Job?

Here is a fact:

At some point during the relationship with your manager, something will fail where they, or you, fall short of expectations. It is important to acknowledge that this will happen so you aren’t blindsided when it does.

How you handle it makes all the difference in the world.

 

hire a manager

First, examine if it is a people or process problem. Was the process there and the person just didn’t follow it? Or was there no process there and they were clueless about how to proceed? Once you can identify this, rectifying it all will be easier to maneuver. There is a big difference between a system and a process so narrow down which it might be and tackle that first.

Your mindset will also help you during these failed attempts, only if you let it. Embrace the messy and look at it as an opportunity to make your business better by learning from what happened. Failures with a good attitude are the indication of a successful CEO 🙂

No one ever said that if you walked through the wrong door that you couldn’t just turn around and walk right back through it! 🙂

Where Do I Find An Office Manager?

I wish I could tell you that there is a spot where all the qualified applicants hang out, but I can’t. I can say I have had clients with great luck on Indeed, Craigslist, and through my partner, JazzHr which basically posts on 15 job boards for you and helps weed the applicants out so you are only left with the creme de la creme!

I would also consider hiring from within because they already know your business.

Whoever you decide to hire, they need to have strong communication and organizational skills. I would consider putting them through the Orion test and a background check and making sure that all your processes were running smoothly before bringing anyone else on board.

 

Hiring An Office Manager Was The Worst Thing I Ever Did

Said no one ever.

You might not knock it out of the park the first time, but you will eventually. Who knows? Maybe it will be love at first sights and it just works? Like any relationship, this one takes time. It takes a lot of understanding about how to delegate, give instructions, and then fall on your own sword when maybe you didn’t give great enough instructions. Being a boss is tough. It isn’t all glamorous but having an office manager is the one thing that will really help take your business to the next level. It will take things off your desk and give you room to breathe (first), and then work on growing your business.

If you need a group of people around you to support this endeavor consider joining the Mastermind. To date, I believe there have been at least 12 office managers hired… so far. So you would be in great company!

Pet sitting podcast

Nutrition

Episode 84: How Self-Care Can Help Your Business THRIVE With Bonnie Roill

Bonnie Roill is a “Lifestyle Architect.” Her boutique private practice, B3 Nutrition,  specializes in helping women develop their customized blueprint for eating, moving, and daily habits that create a “livable and health-generating lifestyle.” Bonnie’s background includes a practicing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for over 35 years along with accreditation as a Hormone Support Coach, a certified Health & Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer.  Her mission is to teach women how they can impact their health destiny through their food, focus, and feet.  Her vision is a world where women have the resources to control their health destiny no matter their age or where they live on the planet.

 

Nutrition

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • The number one thing people don’t understand is how to fuel their body properly. You have to fuel your body to have energy. If you don’t, you will have an insulin rollercoaster which gives you a drop and results in cravings. People need to eat in the morning to start the engine then properly fuel throughout the day.
  • The lunchtime let down will definitely affect how you feel later in the day. Your bio-individuality (your unique situation and genetics) does play a factor, so sometimes you may still feel sluggish no matter how healthy you eat. However, you shouldn’t feel like you need a nap every afternoon. Your circadian clock can work against you. Natural sunlight helps serotonin which is a natural pick-me-up.

  • What should you eat and drink? The best food is fiber containing carbs such as root vegetables like carrots and beets. Fiber slows down digestion which helps regulate your blood sugar. And don’t forget your protein for energy and a small amount healthy fat (ex: avocado). We also need water, lots of water! Often hunger is mistaken as thirst. A cold glass of water can energize you and also increase your metabolism.
  • Does dog walking count as exercising? One problem is that you don’t get your heart rate up to the level you need, but the fact that you’re getting out and about is very helpful. You can easily be meeting the minimal requirement for exercise. But if you are trying to lose weight you will probably need an extra boost of exercise to go along with the walking. Resistance training is a great way to amp up exercise for weight loss.
  • Women often don’t realize their obstacles that are often anchored in our habits. Medical history, eating habits, medications and thought processes are all the root of figuring out what is stopping you from feeling your best and bringing your best to your business.


Show Highlights:

  • How hormones and age can affect women’s daily performance and business [2:30]
  • The importance of and how to alter your circadian rhythm [6:45]
  • How much water you need and the benefits you get from it [10:30]
  • The benefits and drawbacks of claiming dog walking as exercise [16:00]
  • Exactly what is B3 Nutrition? [19:40]
  • How self-care makes you strong for your business as well as the people in your life [22:00]

Tweetables:

Links:

Find out more about Bonnie Roill and the B3 Nutrition by visiting:

https://www.B3Nutrition.com

Downloadable Offer:

Sign up for the session at www.B3Nutrition.com under the header Free Consultation. It takes about 30 minutes. Share my free breakthrough session “Eat Clean(er)*Feel Great* Look Awesome, including my Hormone Profile Self-Assessment checklist.

Also, sign up for FREE 5 Strategies for Success Slimming.

Join me for my Free 7 Day Healthy Habits for Happy Hormones challenge at  www.B3Nutrition.com and select the header “Healthy Habits Challenge.”

 

Share The Show:

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

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

How Are Credit Card Rates Calculated For My Pet Sitting Company?

Since my last post on credit card processing and pet sitting software companies, I have gotten lots of questions about how credit card rates are determined. I know it is a taboo topic we don’t often talk about. The purpose of writing this is to be able to use it as a resource again and again.

I take personal responsibility for everything I publish, and genuinely want to help every business become educated on a messy and confusing topic.

That’s why I haven’t written this alone.

I am not the authority on merchant services, also known as “credit cards” in our Facebook forums, so I decided to go straight to the experts I know, like, and trust.

credit card rates

Tiered Pricing vs Interchange Plus Pricing?

Since the post of my recent blog where I shed some light on what was happening with credit cards and one pet sitting software, I was asked a few questions. The most popular was, “Do the people I work with offered a tiered pricing program or do they use the Interchange Plus Pricing model?”  This pet sitter was hearing that the Tiered Pricing Model wasn’t the best choice.

I thought it was a great question so I reached out to my contacts and spent 20 minutes on the phone learning about what determines credit card rates and taking notes for this article.

I am going to tell you what I discovered, but first, I am going to explain the two. If you are like me, I didn’t know and I really didn’t care as long as I was in love with my rate (which I am, of course!)

Tiered Pricing
This is when a company creates buckets and all cards fall into one of the buckets. Each bucket has its own percentage and that is what the card will be charged. Some buckets make the credit card company more money and some buckets make the company less money. The customer who is charging the cards will only see as many rates on their bill as how many buckets their cards fell into.

Interchange Plus Pricing
This is a system where it acknowledges that there are thousands of cards out there. On your statement, you will see a different fee for all cards including the upcharge that the company decided to add onto it. This statement might be a little harder and confusing to look at as the customer but allows cards not to be grouped together.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both models.

To answer the question I received: The company I work with uses both. 

It is why looking at people’s statements is so important to see what cards they are already currently charging and then find the plan that best fits them. They gave me an example that a donut shop might have different types of transactions than a hotel and that made perfect sense. Different volumes, amounts, and probably types of cards.

You actually might remember that person who I just helped save $8700!  She would have saved some by taking the flat 2.9% offer but ended up double because she had the negotiating power with many companies and chose against the software that would lock her into a higher rate of 2.9% causing her thousands of dollars.

You Could End Up Paying a Lot More In Your Credit Card Rates Than What They Courted You For:

What a certain software system is trying to claim “you could end up paying a lot more than what they courted you for” is actually true! Many merchant services operate like this. They bait you with a great rate and then switch or raise you as time goes on. In fact, the one you are with right now, might actually have raised your rates already and you have been too busy to even notice. After all, your payments are probably on auto-deduct, right?

What this software company says is true….. if you don’t know where to go.

credit card rates

How Do You Know Which Is Best For You?

Different businesses will have different trends like the hotel and donut shop I mentioned earlier.

It all depends and this is why it is SO important to have someone that you can know, like, and trust walking side by side with you. They should be able to explain credit card rates and fees and even re-evaluate things with you as your business grows. I can easily see how a dog walking company would vary differently than a pet sitting company simply because of the spending habits of their different clients.

What’s My Motive?

It is to help you. I have spent ten years in this industry looking through your profit and loss statements, looking where you could increase profits and cut costs. We have agonized on how to pick the best rate to charge so you can achieve your personal financial dreams. We have celebrated and cried together. A business coach with no successful clients isn’t a good business coach at all. So what I am trying to do here is make you successful. Make you keep some of your hard-earned money. I am trying to encourage you to not procrastinate a horribly stressful and confusing task that every business owner needs to pay attention to at least once a year and let you know that there is help.

I am begging you to not just say OK when someone gives you a flat rate without fully understanding the implications of what that really means. It might be good. It might be bad. My motive is to arm you with an education so you can make the best choice for you and that you can literally take to the bank.

pet sitting package deal

september pet sitting blog ideas

4 September Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas

Summer is coming to an end and we are quickly approaching the Fall season. But what does this mean for you as a business owner? Well, it means the kids are going back to school, Labor Day is coming up, and there are numerous opportunities for you get new clients. However, they will never know you exist unless you BLOG or VIDEO – it is a necessity! I know that coming up with blog/video topics is difficult, so I’ve compiled a list of intriguing September pet sitting blog ideas that will help your website shine on Google!

4 September Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas

september pet sitting blog ideas

1. Holidays – Labor Day!

Labor Day can mean two good things for you as a business owner.

  • The kids are going back to school.
  • People will be taking trips

Many people in your area might be trying to figure out what they are going to do with their dogs now that their kids will be gone all day. Why not answer their question by writing a blog or making a video? Discuss different pet care options where you live and make your business shine by showing (not telling) why your service is #1.

Also, consider writing about Labor Day. Write a blog or make a video about different events going on around town or ways people can celebrate with their families. It may get your clients’ thinking about taking a trip if they weren’t already, and sure enough, they’ll need you to watch the dog – score!

 

2. Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

The weather is a great topic to blog or video about because it’s very broad and there are so many different directions you can go.

September can be pretty rainy, so why not blog or video about it? Ask and answer questions such as:

  • Is it safe to walk a dog in the rain?
  • Should dogs wear raincoats or rain boots when walking in the rain?
  • Can dogs get sick walking in the rain?

The questions are endless and will engage your audience to click and find out the answer.

 

3. Autumn Activities

Changing of the seasons allows pet owners and their pets alike to engage in activities they might not have been able to do the season before.

For instance, make a list of the top hiking trails in your area with the most scenic view? Summer is too hot for hiking, plus the changing of the leaves makes great scenery. Write about it and get your audience thinking!

Or maybe blog/video about some of the best games to play with your dog outside during Autumn. Other topics could include a list of the top dog parks in the area, dog-friendly restaurants, or other pet-friendly events that may be going on around you.

 

4. Educational Pet Themes Of The Month

Did you know that every month has a specially designated theme that has to do with pets and animals? September is:

  • Happy Healthy Cat Month
  • National Disaster Preparedness Month

Take these topics and run with them. Write about helpful tips cat owners can use to ensure their cat is both happy and healthy. Or take the second topic and describe how dog owners and their dogs can be prepared in case of an emergency.

Additionally, there are certain pet oriented days in September that you can write time-sensitive blogs/videos about such as:

  • National Hug Your Hound Day (2nd Sunday In September)
  • Responsible Dog Ownership Day (September 19th)
  • National Dog Week (Last full week in September)

 

I hope these September pet sitting blog ideas are helpful to you and are able to give you some inspiration. If you are a pet sitting business that DOESN’T have a blog – it’s never too late to start. If you’re still not convinced, check out these blogs I wrote on Why Should I Blog For My Pet Sitting Business and Why You Should Care About Your Holiday Cover Profiles And Blogging.

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

For more content on blogging, be sure to take a look at:

Learn How Two Coaching Sessions Tripled This Pet Business’s Leads By Blogging!

Episode 2: Blogging To 1700 Hits In One Day And Delegating Your Business 

Here Are 5 Important Things To Do After You Publish A Blog Plus 3 Bonuses

better marketing with bella

pet sitting independent contractors

The Problems With Pet Sitting Independent Contractors

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of hiring pet sitting independent contractors for your business. Personally, I think investing in employees is a much better decision.  If you have IC’s or are thinking about hiring IC’s, we’re going to draw some attention to some of the challenges there are with hiring pet sitting independent contractors.

The Problems With Hiring Pet Sitting Independent Contractorspet sitting independent contractors

Lack Of Control

To be quite honest, I have yet to meet a business owner who is not a control freak (myself included!). This is easily one of the biggest downfalls of hiring IC’s because you really can’t control what they do.

Seems weird right?

But it’s true.

With IC’s, training is only allowed by the client themselves, not by you or a manager. Yes you can offer suggestions, but you can’t train them on the important aspects of HOW to do pet sits. This could be detrimental in developing your company’s brand, because 10 different IC’s may do pet sits 10 different ways and they should! They are all representing their own business.

Check out this quote from the IRS website that gives a great summation as to what limits IC’s have:

“The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.” – IRS.gov

Strict Rules & Regulations

Many times I’ve seen businesses go through more headache and hassle with different government agencies by having IC’s! This goes hand in hand with my previous point that you as the business owner cannot control or manage what the IC does. This makes it very easy for you to inadvertently overstep your bounds, creating a potential problem. I have heard of a lot of business owners emailing instructions to their IC in writing, which is a big no-no!

I’ve found that business owners that have IC’s are frequently “on the defense” so to speak. They’re having to constantly look over their shoulder and avoid putting any communication with the IC in writing to cover themselves. I’ve actually spoken to business owners that have gotten a knock on their door for something they’ve done a year ago.

To me, no matter what benefits IC’s bring, it’s not worth the fear of getting in trouble. None of us, myself included, are legal experts or auditors, making it very easy for us to slip up and get ourselves in trouble or audited.

Insurance Complications

When you have employees, they are covered under your pet sitting insurance policy – plain and simple. This is not the case with IC’s. Sure, an insurance agency will allow them to be covered under your master policy, but then who is absorbing the cost? You are. Therefore, they would be classified as employees!

There is insurance for liability, if you are negligent on the job… but there is also workman’s compensation for if a worker is hurt on a job. Independent Contractors, by definition should have these insurance policies. Most do not.

In your client’s eyes, your IC’s represent your company. It’s really not a good look when a representative of your company is suing your client for an injury. Plus, there is the possibility they could go after you as well. Overall, it’s just a giant headache, and one that can be totally avoided by hiring employees rather than IC’s

While there are still pet sitting business owners that use IC’s, it’s not something I would recommend in today’s business world. If you’re looking to make “the switch,” from ICs to employees be sure to follow these crucial 6 steps and check out my Employee Quickstart Program.

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees

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

But that isn’t always the case.

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

  • Trust
  • Cost
  • Interviewing/Hiring/Training

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees

pet sitting employees

Trust

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

So how can you overcome these trust issues?

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

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

Cost

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

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

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

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

Interviewing/Hiring/Training

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

Become one with it.

Perfect it!

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

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

Employee Handbook and Training Manual

 

Episode 57: Lead Through Strengths With Lisa Cummings

Description

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

pet sitter marketing

Lisa Cummings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Lisa

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

Links mentioned in this episode

Subscribe To The Show:

Listen To The Show:

Play

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

Subscribe To The Show:

Listen To The Show:

Play