Tag Archive for: pet sitting

pet sitting business coaches

The Problems With Pet Sitting Business Coaches

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

pet sitting business coaches

Knowledge About Types Of Business

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

Booking Availability

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

Industry Ties

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

Proven Track Record

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

Costs

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

Downloadable Material

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

Free Material

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

Support

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

How Do They Solve YOUR Problems?

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

Do They Offer Different, Unique Solutions To Your Problems?

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

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

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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

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

blogging SEO pet sitting business

Jen Phillips April

Specifically they discuss:

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

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

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

You can find out more at www.jenphillipsapril.com

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pet sitting business coach cost

How Much Does A Pet Sitting Business Coach Cost?

One of the biggest deciding factors when choosing a pet sitting business coach to work with is cost. Good advice can be valuable, but what it really comes down to is how much you’re willing to spend on it, and if you will get a return on your investment. The cost of a coach can range depending on what you’re looking for – so, today we’re going to break down the exactly what you should be thinking about in terms of cost when choosing a coach to work with.

How Much Does A Pet Sitting Business Coach Cost?

pet sitting business coach cost

Free

Yes, I am totally serious when I say that you could be getting advice for your business for free. Many coaches will offer free content to help you familiarize yourself with their style before committing to them. This is important because when you choose a coach, you are handing over your business and livelihood to them. A piece of bad advice or lack of advice could send you down paths you don’t want to be on.

This free content could include blogs, podcasts, Facebook groups, and free 20-30 minute coaching sessions. All of these resources are great ways to help yourself get a sense of what the coach believes in, and if their beliefs & personality, fit in with the vision you have for your business.

Low Cost

When a pet sitting business coach is offering their services for a low price, you want to ask yourself, “Is this person in it to make a living?” If your answer to this question is NO, you might want to do a little more thinking about this person. If they are doing it just to make a little side money, it might not be the mentality that you are looking for. Maybe it is? Having a coach that is coaching to make a living is beneficial for your business because they will really care about your success. They will have more vested in it because their success depends on your success.

If they’re offering their services for a low cost, this can really speak to the quality of the content and how much they believe in it. Think of the old saying “you get what you pay for.”

Also consider whether or not this content or advice is really valuable and unique? Or is it just restating much of what someone else has already said? How much knowledge is this person backing their products up with? Is it put together professionally? These are all valuable thoughts to consider when choosing a business coach.

That being said, being low cost doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad! It could be that the coach is providing these resources to you from their heart. Or, that they are up and coming and just starting out! Again, the best way to determine this is to get a feel for the coach through their free content.

High Cost

When considering working with a high-cost pet sitting business coach, there are also a series of questions you want to think about before working with them. First and foremost: Is the content really more value? Higher price does NOT necessarily equate to higher value, even though it’s easy as a consumer to think so. How do you get around this? Make the coach show you the value. Do they have social proof such as testimonials? Reviews? A large following that are singing their praises? These are all great ways to determine whether or not a coach’s value justifies their high cost.

It’s also important to note that a high-cost coach is probably more serious about your results. Why? A high-cost coach is probably doing this full time. Higher costs = having to work harder to generate revenue. Plus, a high-cost coach is most likely going to have a wider range of solutions to their client’s problems which also justifies what they’re charging. Typically they can work with a wide variety of businesses and you are paying for their global skills and knowledge.

Different Ways To Spend

Pet sitting business coaches are adapting to the variety of innovation going on in our industry today. Coaches offer tons of different products and methods for you to receive advice tailored to your business, in the format that’s most comfortable for you. Coaches may offer services such as private online groups, one-on- one coaching, downloadable products, long term coaching packages, and virtual classes. Each of these have their benefits and disadvantages. It’s really up to you to find which method your most attracted to in order to help your business soar!

Deciding which pet sitting business coach to work with can be a process. It’s important to ask yourself the tough questions to determine whether or not you’re making the right decision for you and your business. While there are many factors that are important to consider, cost is one of the major ones you should definitely think about when deciding on a pet sitting business coach.

No matter which pet sitting business coach you choose, you will always want to make sure that you can get a return on your investment,

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Episode 44: Why Your Business Needs Pet CPR Training With Cara Armour

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Cara Armour, Product Manager and Marketing Manager for ProPetHeroa pet CPR and first aid online training program for pet business owners.

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

Pet CPR Training

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

She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc, a health conscious breeder of Boxers.

Bella and Cara talk about Pet First Aid and how to go about training you and your staff.

They discuss the benefits of being trained which are:

  • Being able to save the lives of your pets or pet clients.
  • Learning to recognize potential issues with a pet and bring that to the owner’s attention.
  • Using that trained status to stand out from your competition and create greater security among your clients.

They talk about how an online training course, such as the ones available through ProPetHero are more useful than in-person training because:

  • You can do them at your own pace and anywhere you want.
  • The cost is significantly low compared to sending staff to an in-person training course
  • You can monitor staff’s progress and comprehension of the material.

There is even a special discount for “Bella in your Business” fans. You can get 10% off by going to here.
Coupon code: CPR-petsitter

Pet CPR Training

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

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

Topics covered are:

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

Wendy Van de Poll

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

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

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

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partnership agreements

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

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

Right? 

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

Or do you? 

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

But is that true?

partnership agreements

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

Why Do So Many People Forget About Partnership Agreements?

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

 

How Easy Is It To Get A Partnership Agreement?

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

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

What Happens if You Don’t Get Partnership Agreements?

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

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

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

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

pet sitting partnership agreements

How Important Is This Really Bella?

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

It is VERY real.

 

Another True Story That You Have To Read:

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

Jessica Greenfield writes:

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

 

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

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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

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

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

She talks with Maureen about:

Facebook Groups In Your Pet Sitting Business

Maureen McCarthy

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

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

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

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

Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies

Adam & Lynn Smith

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

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transparent pet sitters

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

Transparency literally means you can see THROUGH something. It is a term that is thrown around a lot in business. But what does it actually mean? Transparency builds trust because the person, object, or business, isn’t hiding anything. If your viewer feels that you are being transparent, there is a higher chance they will trust you and take you seriously as an authority..

Pet sitting businesses often talk about themselves. Examples being how great they are, and all types of cliches. But, the truth is that many other businesses can also say the same exact things about themselves.

Today, I wanted to inspire you by drawing attention to a few transparent pet sitters who wrote blogs that go the extra length to really let it all hang out there. In short, being very clear about their ways.

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

transparent pet sitters

 

#1. The Pet Sitter of Boise:

Julie Fredrick is the owner of this incredible successful and growing business. She utilizes her website 100% as she has started and built this incredible company all while having a “day job.” As part of that, you can learn the answer to about just about everything, without having to make a dreaded phone call to talk to a human. I mean really, who likes to talk on the phone these days?  Take a look at her FAQ page here

Julie goes as far as listing exactly what her insurance policy covers. If that doesn’t scream transparency, I don’t know what does! She is a great example of transparent pet sitters.

The Pet Sitter of Boise

#2. Endless Pawsibilities

Over in Toms River, New Jersey, Endless Pawsibilities owner Tory Lattig is knocking it out of the park. She uses pictures and videos to tell the story of what goes on during a pet sit.

This is an extremely popular question of many first time pet parents. So, to be able to use this blog to show her apprehensive caller what actually happens can really help put down that barrier. Tori just used the internet and the tools on her cell phone to bring to life the actual daily events that occur when you are a client of her company.

 

Endless Pawsibilities

#3. Jen Loves Pets

In San Diego, Jen is answering clients questions by giving a detailed explanation of what they can expect at a meet and greet. I especially love this posting because it is so important to set the right expectations. It’s also a good idea  tell your new client exactly what they can expect from you and what you need from them. Setting these boundaries up in advance sets the both of you up for a great relationship. Also, this is another posting that you can easily add a link in an email to explain when you first meet a client (saving you time!).

Jen Loves Pets

They Ask, You Answer

A lot of what these fabulous pet sitters are doing actually comes from the They Ask, You Answer principle from The Sales Lion. Listen in on the next 30 minutes, and I promise your life will be changed. This concept changed mine and is the epitome of what the sitter’s are doing above.

 

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pet sitter marketing

pet sitting office manager

How To Get A Business Phone To A Pet Sitting Office Manager

To all of my pet sitting business owners with staff – this one’s for you! Are you considering hiring an office manager? Or maybe you’re just going away on vacation for a week or two and need a temporary office manager to fill in? Either way, you’ll need to consider how to get your business phone to your pet sitting office manager. This can be tricky and complicated.

So, today I’m going to break down some of the best ways you can get your business phone to your office manager without the hassle!

How To Get A Business Phone To Your Pet Sitting Office Manager

pet sitting office manager

 

Temporary Solutions

If you are looking for a temporary solution, you don’t have to make a permanent move. It might be as simple as forwarding the business line to their cell phone. Or you can even physically give them the business phone. Keep in mind these solutions are only short term. They can also sometimes be a way to do a “trial run” to make sure your potential office manager is right for the job.

If you do this, don’t forget to make sure that their voicemail is personalized for the business! You want it to say something like “Thanks for calling Bella’s Pet Sitting.” You don’t want your clients to know that their call is being directed somewhere else. Keep in mind this is only a short term solution.

Permanent Solutions

If you need a permanent solution, I do not suggest handing a phone back and forth. Even physically delivering a phone to your pet sitting office manager can be messy. There’s too much room for error here. You need to set up a permanent system.

There are a number of companies such as Grasshopper, Phone.com, and RingCentral, that do a “phone tree system.” With this you can redirect a line to many different people depending on where you want it to go.

Since our offices are virtual, this is probably the best way to direct client calls. You really want it to be a cloud based system so you can text if you need to text (even though I don’t recommend it!). You also need to have a record of all communication between all lines. Plus, they have useful features such as transcribing voicemails, the ability to use your computer/tablet, and more.

What About Google Voice?

Ah, Google Voice. Super popular among pet sitters for sure, and I even used it regularly in my own business! What I’ve learned is that it’s really nice for sole proprietors if you’re trying to separate business and personal.

But when your business and operations grows bigger and bigger you will eventually outgrow Google Voice. It’s a good stepping stone but I don’t recommend it long term. It’s a great program for being free, but if you’re serious about bringing on a long-term office manager you will need a more sophisticated software.

Phone systems are really smart these days. Clients calling won’t know they’re in a phone system. They won’t hear things like “Press one for this and press two for that” – unless you want it that way!

Overall, you want your phone system to be able to adapt to YOU and your business. So, do a bit of research and choose the company or solution that will best fit your needs. You’ll be glad you did!

If you’re still unsure about taking the plunge by giving your employees a business phone, be sure to check out this blog I wrote here addressing your concerns.

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

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

Pet Sitters Overcoming Challenges

Heather Dopson, Community Builder at GoDaddy

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

They discuss:

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

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Episode 34: “Click Here To Agree” Contracts, Sharing Client Photos, And Privacy Policies On Your Website.

On this episode Bella speaks with Sara F. Hawkins, an attorney who specializes in working with startups, entrepreneurs, marketing and advertising agencies, as well as major corporations where she regularly counsels clients on all aspects of federal and state marketing, advertising, sweepstakes and contests; international promotions; social media and internet law; copyright, trademark, and digital rights; as well as general business matters.

small business social media

Sara F. Hawkins

With a background in consumer product marketing compliance, Sara has worked with clients to create policies and procedures for engagement with agencies, celebrities, and influencers. Sara frequently speaks on legal topics related to influencer marketing; sweepstakes and contest promotions; as well as a host of digital, native, and mobile advertising and marketing topics. Since 1998, Sara has maintained her own firm in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bella and Sara discuss:

  • Where business owners can get photos from
  • Photo licenses and what they are
  • Who regulates photos and copyrights
  • How business owners can get clients to agree to share photos
  • Privacy policies
  • “Click to agree” agreements.

Here is the resource for my Deposit Photo deal 🙂
Sara can be reached at her website or Facebook

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Episode 32: Amy Schmittauer Explains Video In Her New Book VLog Like A Boss

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Amy Schmittauer from the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social

In this episode they discuss what a Vlog is, and how and why Amy got into it.  They also talk about how pet sitters can use video to enhance their business and marketing and some tips on how to overcome that fear of being on camera.

Amy’s newly released book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging just launched on Jan 31st and just by listening to this episode, you might win a free copy.

Want to join our book club?

The Jumpers in my FB group voted for Amy’s book as our next book club read. If you would like to join us, we start the middle of February. You can get a copy of her book here and join our FB book club group here

 

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer  is the Vlog Boss. As a new media triple threat —YouTuber, Keynote Speaker and Author—she coaches people to go after what they want in life and leverage online video to make it happen.

Creator of the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social, her channel boasts a global community and millions of views.  And let’s not forget she is Mama to an adorable Beagle named LUCY.

In Amy’s first book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging, she shares her collection of strategies and tactics to help you create video that gets the attention you deserve.

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Why Your Staff Should Use Facebook Live For Your Pet Sitting Business Page

Technology is ever changing. And with new technology comes new ways for your business to connect with your clients. One of these ways is Facebook Live – a feature on Facebook where you can broadcast yourself LIVE to your Facebook friends. Cool, right? While blogging is still really popular, video is becoming where it’s AT! Using Facebook Live for pet sitting is a great way that you and your staff can really connect with your audience. So today, we’re going to talk about why having your staff use Facebook Live is a good idea and how you can begin to implement it into your business.

Why Your Staff Should Use Facebook Live On Your Pet Sitting Business Page:

facebook live for pet sitting

Your Clients Will LOVE It!

Live video is so much more personal than pre-recorded, professional video. Clients will love getting to see an inside look of what it’s like to be a pet sitter for your company. It can also help them feel more safe and secure since they’ll have an inside perspective on what your pet sitters do at homes.

But, it’s important to note that you don’t want to just throw your staff into this new task. There is a couple different ways you can go about it:

  1. Hold an official training so ALL of your pet sitters can learn how to use Facebook Live for pet sitting to your standards.
  2. Only allow your “veteran” employees who really understand your brand to take part in it.

Whichever you choose, you want to make sure that you add an additional section in your training manual so that you have all policies and procedures documented in writing.

Your Sitters Will LOVE Doing it!

It’s no secret that your pet sitters love pets! So what better way for them to show off their love for animals by using Facebook Live for pet sitting on your business page? They will feel a sense of pride and importance once asked to be one of the many faces of your business.

Giving your sitters extra responsibility will make them feel appreciated. It will also help you promote your business through content creation. Your job, however, is to give them all the tools they need to succeed.

 

Tell Them The Rules Of The Game:

What do I mean by that? Every week you should have some type of discussion like, “Hey ____, this week on Facebook Live the topic is going to be one reason why you love working for the company.” You want to make sure you give your staff some direction. That way, they won’t have to think on the spot to come up with something to say. Also have some specific guidelines in place such as:

  • How long the video should be
  • What time of day is optimal for posting
  • Only use Facebook Live for dogs/pets that they feel completely comfortable with.

You’ll 100% Set Yourself Apart From The Competition!

We don’t have to be the only people that are the face of our company. In fact, your sitters are the main reason why your clients will come back again and again. Keeping up with the newest trends and technology allows your business to grow and prosper. Stay relevant, engaged, and in-tune with how people want to view content. If you make it EASY for people to see what you’re all about, the sky’s the limit!

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pet sitting facebook group

 

Britt Alwerud

Episode 31: Types of Apps

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Britt Alwerud from Handlr.  They discuss  the top 9 apps they think are great for the Pet Sitting business.

The apps they discuss are:

Britt Alwerud

Britt Alwerud lives in Los Angeles, CA with her menagerie of furbabies – two Goldens, Daisy and Taj, two cats, Tiger and Monkey, two horses named Gracie and Moo, and a chameleon named Larry. Britt owns DogZenergy in San Diego, CA. Now she’s the full-time Founder and CEO of Handlr. Handlr is the ultimate business app for busy pet sitters who are looking to automate and grow their business. Learn more about Handlr by clicking here or email her at britt@myhandlr.com. You can also find Britt on Instagram @doggonetechgirl or follow Handlr on Twitter @myhandlr for weekly business tips.

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choosing pet sitting software

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

Choosing pet sitting software is no doubt a daunting task. After all there are a TON of different companies, all with loads of different, innovative features. But how do you know which of those features you truly need? Today we’re going to talk about the 6 things you MUST consider when choosing pet sitting software in order to keep yourself sane and organized.

6 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

choosing pet sitting software

Accounting

When choosing pet sitting software, we have to consider what type of accounting we do. You want to ask yourself if it’s important to you whether or not your accounting is done within the system. By this I mean if you want the software to track invoices, income, give you profit and loss reports, etc.

But, maybe your accountant or CPA prefers you use a software like Quickbooks to do your accounting. Maybe your CPA works with you virtually through Quickbooks where they log in and help you manage business finances. If this is the case, then a software with built-in accounting may not be vital for your business.

 

Customer Service

Another crucial aspect of choosing pet sitting software is customer service. What type of customer service does the software offer? What is there response time like? Do they have 24/7 support? What do other pet business owners think about the company’s customer service? Do they have online Facebook support groups? And are these groups run by community or actual Helpdesk at the company?

All of the above are great questions to ask and research when choosing pet sitting software. As a pet sitter, I know you know as well as I do that things DO go wrong sometimes. And in the event of an emergency or major problem with your software, you want to make sure that someone has your back.

 

How Often Is The Software Updated?

Nowadays, technology and software is constantly changes. There are always new breakthroughs. It’s important to choose pet sitting software that stays on top of the technology industry and is constantly changing with it. This can include things such as increasing loading speeds, GPS, adding new features, and optimizing their software for other devices such as phones or tablets.

Plus, does the company actually listen to their client’s ideas for changes? You definitely want to pick a company that listens to feedback and implements it in a timely manner.

 

Mobile Version or App Version?

It’s really handy for your pet sitters to be able to use the software on their mobile devices. So it’s important to find out when choosing pet sitting software if they at least have mobile friendly version (i.e. a simpler website specifically for a phone). Or, even better, do they have a specific phone application that you can download? And, can the client use the app or just the company?

Being able to use pet sitting software on a mobile device eliminates lots of room for error and can eliminate a paper trail, as in pet sitters won’t have to manually print out client notes or their schedule. There are lots of benefits to having mobile access to your pet sitting software, so this should be a primary deciding factor.

Communication

Every pet sitting company should have a primary form of communication. When communication is spread out between multiple methods (i.e. email, texting, phone calls, voicemail etc.), things get lost in translation. Consider choosing pet sitting software that offers communication within the program. This can be helpful so that you have all client and pet sitter communication within one medium.

Or, if you prefer email (or another method), then choosing pet sitting software with communication built in may not be as important to you.

Credit Cards

Make sure the software you choose doesn’t lock you into just one credit card company. Make sure that you can actually negotiate your credit card prices. More about how credit cards work here.

 

Final Food For Thought

Everything listed above are some of the major things you should consider when trying to choose a software company. You should consider these 5 factors first and determine what’s important to you. Then, you can look at the additional “bells and whistles” that the software companies offer.

Software is there to help you, so you want to find the program that’s right for YOUR business and fits in with your model.

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mastermind pet sitting

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

Thinking of switching pet sitting software companies can be a big pain in the A$%, isn’t it? In fact, all the headache that goes along with switching is the single most important reason why I hear many pet sitters won’t do it.

As a business owner, we already have way too much on our plate. If delegation is the key to success, why don’t we allow our clients to help us out with this process?

Stay with me here…

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

switch pet sitting software companies

Don’t Make Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies A Solo Project

When switching pet sitting software companies, you will ultimately have your clients log in, update their info as needed, and schedule services with you, right? A common misconception with pet sitters is that they think the burden of updating their client’s information is on THEM – but I’m happy to tell you that this is not the case 🙂

So let’s invite them to “update their information” as we get our new system set up.

[ctt template=”8″ link=”7i813″ via=”no” ]Let your clients update their information by saying, “We want to make sure we have the most current info about Fluffy and Fido” @bellas_pets[/ctt]” This type of phrasing not only shows that you care, but gives the client an incentive to comply. It also alleviates the pain of you having to enter in all the information or pay to have someone do it. Plus, different systems might have different fields for information making it a little difficult. When this happens, we might procrastinate things even more. AKA Not get the task complete!

 

Here Are Two Examples Of What You Can Say To Your Clients:

If you can muster up the positivity and set expectations properly – consider the task of switching pet sitting software systems done!

How do you do that? Well, thankfully, you are reading this now, so here goes a mock letter, that you can copy and paste, right here from my website, for you to use:

 

Sample Letter #1

Dear NAME:

Our tail is wagging in anticipation of this new toy we just bought for XYZ PET SITTING COMPANY. It is an even BETTER scheduling software system that we just know you will absolutely LOVE!

Feel free to scratch and sniff your way around by going HERE and clicking THIS. Once you are in, you can actually create your OWN UN and PW. (I thought it would be better for you to create it rather than making something that you would probably forget, because, let’s face it, you didn’t create it!)

Before we are able to approve your next booking, we just need you to take 5 minutes, enter in the info for your fur babies, your credit card, and then you can be on your way to booking.

EVEN BETTER:

I know it is probably been dog ages since you have updated your babies info, so this will help us all stay on the same page!

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?
If your paws hurt, you can always watch how easy it is to set up an account by watching this 30 second video HERE

Or, you can give me a howl on the office phone OFFICE HOURS, I am on stand by ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

 

Sample Letter #2

Hello CLIENT,

We are doing some updates to our online profile system and just need for you to update your fur kid(s) info before making your next booking.  Feel free to do it now, if you have the time!

It is as easy as 1-2-3.

1 – Click HERE and create a UN and PW
2 – Fill out all of your info and your pet’s info.
3 – Oh wait, we are all ready done! See how easy that was? 🙂

If you have any questions at all about this new process, I am in the office OFFICE HOURS and ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

Manage Expectations & Solve Problems Before They Come

I have always said, if you can manage someone’s expectations, you will cut the questions down to a minimum. Likewise, if you can expect people’s behavior, you can lessen your frustrations!

Here is what I mean: Anticipate the questions that your clients will have for you and consider making a short video like this one to help show them their answers:

You can easily create videos on Screencast-o-matic for free!

Remember, Questions Do Not Mean Criticism

Don’t fret when clients are asking you questions on the system. It doesn’t mean that the system you just moved to is de-funked. It means that they just simply have questions and they are looking to you for help. Think of it as a way to touch them and open up a conversation about how their services are going or how their pets are doing. Ask them their opinion of what they like and if there is anything you can improve on. Simply ASKING that last question can secure a client for life because they know that you care!

Switching Pet Sitting Software Systems Doesn’t Have To Be Tough

Change is always tough. I am betting that it actually took you a while to take the JUMP towards switching pet sitting software companies, am I right? What you need to do now is hold on tight, anticipate the questions, and know that you don’t need to sit there for hours upon hours to update every single client file.

Nor, is a data transfer going to be seamless. So in my opinion, it is best to have your clients help you do it. 🙂 Not to mention, all of the companies are always there to help you. After all, they want you to LIKE using their software!

Don’t ever let this challenge prevent you from making a switch!

 

Mastermind

Episode 30: Proven Social Media Marketing Methods

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

In this episode, Bella talks to Britney Young. Britney is a digital marketing professional and social media enthusiast. Her day-to-day life as a social media marketing manager includes: finding/curating relevant content to post to social channels, analyzing post data and post performance to see key trends or spikes in engagement, looking for relevant industry influencers to connect with, and responding to customer inquires, etc.

They discuss:

  • What a social marketing manager does
  • The pros and cons of using automatic republishers like Meet Edgar
  • How often should you post
  • What should you be posting
  • What you should be doing with all of those pet pictures you post
  • Their favorite apps for doctoring up pictures
  • The differences in the social media channels and a good workflow for pushing one post through many of them.
  • Focusing your efforts on a few selected channels.
  • Knowing your audience and finding out what channel works best for them.Apps mentioned:
    – Canva
    – Abobe Spark
    – Pixaby

For more information about Britney Young, you can find her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/britneynyoung/

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Episode 29: What Type of Pet Sitter is Best for Rover Type Websites?

In this Episode Bella talks with Walt Galvin, an independent contractor working for Rover.  They discuss how sites like Rover can be a viable option for some pet sitters and walkers who are just starting out or want to keep it simple.

Walt Gavin, independent contractor with Rover.

Walt Galvin, independent contractor with Rover.

Some of the advantages include:

  • Not having to handle payments from clients
  • Saving  time and money but not having to handle marketing
  • Not having to deal with all kinds of administrative headaches and paperwork.
  • Ability to set your own work schedule

For Walt it has turned into a substantial retirement income and he points out that it is also a good option for those who don’t have the desire to hire other sitters and walkers as staff.  Walt also recommends that you pay close attention to the service agreements, particularly in regards to what insurance covers and you may need to purchase additional insurance to cover yourself.

Many of these online websites do not provide adequate coverage for the pet sitters. Only the clients.

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above and beyond

Out-Of-The-Box Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients With This Simple Concept

Question: What would happen if today you didn’t gain any more pet sitting clients because you already have enough? How would you go about keeping the ones that you have?

So many companies say they go “above and beyond” with their clients, and attribute that to gaining more pet sitting clients. But what does that really mean? How do you go above and beyond with your pet sitting clients when you are sometimes removed from the day to day pet sitting? Your heart might be above and beyond but what actions do you do to show this?

more pet sitting clients

You might try with occasional emails or maybe even gifts… but usually, that is surrounded by you wanting something or it is an obligation to give a gift (holidays, new pet, pet passing).

It is passive.

It is predicted.

Sometimes it is even talking AT them and not with them…

Well now, I want to flip your thinking.

What if you started talking to your clients just like they were your friends? Ever see something that would be valuable to a friend and share it with them on Facebook? I do. All the time and I do it in business too.

 

In fact, since selling my company a few months ago, I feel awkward because there are so many things I read that I think, “Oh wow! I want to share that!” but I don’t have anywhere to do it. So now, you are going to reap the marketing bursts my brain has:

Here is How To REALLY Go Above And Beyond To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients:

 

1. Cincinnati Winning Basketball And Streets Being Clogged

Recently, we had a member in my Facebook Group notify all her clients the about street closures for the parade that Cincinnati was having for their team who won the finals. She let them know so they didn’t get in a traffic jam going to work. Nice way to reach out to everyone in a valuable way, huh? Many thanked her for the heads up.

Simple gestures like these will stick in your client’s mind. It’s a great way to ensure that your current clients will recommend you via word of mouth – ultimately ending up with MORE clients for you!

 

2. TSA Taking Longer And People Missing Flights.

When I had my pet sitting company, I actually emailed all the clients who were leaving town that weekend and reminded them about TSA wait times. It was a big story at the time. Many people were missing their flights. I even included a link to the airport where they listed the current wait times at each terminal location. I got many “Thank you’s!” and even a bunch of, “We were driving but thanks for thinking of us!”  Great way to show that you care and reach out without WANTING something, huh? 🙂

 

3. Major Weather Catastrophes Like A Tornado, Fire, Or Flood

Admittedly, it is horrible when this happens. There is panic among everyone and if you have a client out of town, watching it on the news, they might even get anxious.

Imagine getting an email from your pet sitter while you’re away saying something like “Don’t worry about the weather going on… here is our plan should we ever need it and you can stay up to date on our Facebook page.” And then post updates!

Pet sitting software systems will help you contact a certain group of clients that are away so you can speak directly to them. You could even email everyone a blanket email saying:

To the families who are away: Here is our plan.
To the families that are local: Here are some resources.

As pet sitters we all say we care, but how do we show it to everyone? Imagine the confidence that would our worried traveling pet parents? The alternative is that there is no communication and they are calling you frantically. I can almost promise you, no other pet care company is doing this. Get ahead of the anxiety!

 

4. Snowstorm That Strands People On The East Coast

Even thought I am in warm and sunny AZ, the snowstorms on the east coast during the winter affected by business and my clients. Flights would be canceled, delayed, or worse, people couldn’t get into the airport because of the road closures or airport closures. Acknowledging the stress in your pet parents lives while traveling will make them feel safe and secure. And they will remember you. It is very similar to #3.

 

5. Pet Food Recalls

Hear of a pet food recall happening? A quick email to your client base with a link to the press release on your website will be helpful for them to know you are thinking about them and care about passing along valuable information.

 

above and beyond

There Are More Ways To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients By Going TRULY Above And Beyond

Too many to be listed! For more creative ideas and inspirations, check out these other great tips:

Just keep an open mind the next time you are watching the news or listening to the radio. Think about yourself as a journalist as well as a pet sitting business owner and that will really help shift your mindset.

Now it’s your turn. How do YOU go above and beyond with your clients? How did that help you ultimately gain more pet sitting clients? Let me know in the comments below.

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free coaching session

Episode 28: How To Pet Sit for Aggressive Dogs

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

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

In This Episode:

aggressive dogs

Jennifer Taylor, JenLovesPets.com

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

Listen in as they discuss:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pet first aid training online

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Episode 27:The Great Debate: DogVacay, Rover, Wag, and Zingy versus Professional Small Business Owners –

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Britt Alwerud from Handlr.  They discuss  DogVacay, Rover, Wag, and Zingy versus Professional Small Business Owners.

In this episode they discuss:

  • Why do you think so many small business owners are intimidated by the large powerhouses that have entered the market in the last few years?
  • How have the changed the industry? Are they really “disrupting” the industry?
  • What are the pros and cons of the huge companies versus the more personal professional businesses?
  • Are customers flocking to on-demand apps? Are they demanding an on-demand experience?
  • Are small business owners going to get screwed or what can they do to protect themselves?
  • If someone is a Rover or DogVacay user, but they want to become a legitimate small business with people working for them, could they use Handlr? What are their first steps for becoming a legit business?

Britt Alwerud

Britt Alwerud lives in Los Angeles, CA with her menagerie of furbabies – two Goldens, Daisy and Taj, two cats, Tiger and Monkey, two horses named Gracie and Moo, and a chameleon named Larry. Britt owns DogZenergy in San Diego, CA. Now she’s the full-time Founder and CEO of Handlr. Handlr is the ultimate business app for busy pet sitters who are looking to automate and grow their business. Learn more about Handlr by clicking here or email her at britt@myhandlr.com. You can also find Britt on Instagram @doggonetechgirl or follow Handlr on Twitter @myhandlr for weekly business tips.

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

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

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

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

expand your business

 

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

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

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

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

Expand Your Online Presence, THEN Your Business

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

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

But the work doesn’t stop there.

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

 

Expand Your Pet Sitting Business Presence Within The Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow – This All Seems Like A Lot!

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

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

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

social media options

 

Episode 26: How To Get Pet CPR First Aid Certification Online

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Cara Armour, Product Manager with ProTrainings a pet cpr and first aid online training program for pet business owners.

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

 

Cara Armour

 

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

She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc, a health conscious breeder of Boxers.

Bella and Cara talk about Pet First Aid and how to go about training you and your staff.

They discuss the benefits of being trained which are:

  • Being able to save the lives of your pets or pet clients.
  • Learning to recognize potential issues with a pet and bring that to the owner’s attention.
  • Being able to use that trained status to attract more clients.

They talk about how an online training course, such as the ones available through ProPetHero are more useful than in-person training because:

  • They are taught by an actual veterinarian using real animals.
  • You can do them at your own pace and anywhere you want.
  • Business owners offering them to their employees can have a dashboard that shows each employee’s progress.
  • You have access to them  for up to two years and can go back and revisit sections as you see fit.

Bella was even able to secure a special discount for “Bella in your Business” fans. You can get 10% off by going to here.
Coupon code: CPR-petsitter

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pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gift Ideas To Give Your Staff

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

 

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

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

pet sitting staff gifts

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gifts To Give Your Staff:

 

Take Them Out On The Town

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

 

Send Them On a Getaway

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

christmas gifts to give your staff

Personalized Gifts

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

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

holiday gifts to give your staff

Bonuses

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

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

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

 

Gift Cards

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

 

Even More Ideas… BONUS ROUND:

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

Christmas Lights and A Limo:

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

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

 

gifts to pet sitting clients

Employee Quick Start

Episode 23: How Do I Know If It Is Legal To Board Dogs In My Home?

bella-pet-sitting-industry-podcast-album-cover


According to Kristy, she is the only properly zoned boarding facility in Philadelphia that is operating out of a private home.

And it didn’t come easy.

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business,” Bella speaks with Kristie Glazer from Philly Pet Care,a family-owned pet sitting and dog walking company in Philadelphia. 

In an unprecedented interview, you learn what it is like when the Zoning Board is knocking on your door telling you to stop your business or they will fine you and board up your home.

You will also learn how you can take the proper steps in being able to operate your dog boarding business legally in your own home.

Kristie talks about the struggles she went through with the boarding aspect of her business and the complicated steps it took to move it from being shut down by the city, to now being the only zoned boarding facility in Philadelphia that is operating out of a private home.

 

 

zoned boarding facility dog boarding

There is great strength and success in this podcast if you are thinking about doing dog boarding in your home. Through a difficult struggle and long process, Kristie was able to get her city to back her business. Unfortunately, Kristie only represents about 1% of in home dog boarders I know about. Many, do not know their city ordinances or know what permit they need to operate legally. Some, choose to ignore and pretend they don’t know they need permits or proper zoning.

It is troublesome because some pet sitters use in home dog boarding as their livelihood. If your business is shut down, because you are operating illegally, your income stops. This could have a grave effect on their life. It is a topic to think seriously about and take into proper consideration.

2:00 – Kristie’s story
7:38 – What made Kristie decide to fight to keep her business
9:24 – How Kristie got her neighbors support
14:35 – What to do if you want to board dogs in your home
15:42 – Fines or penalties for illegal boarding?
16:36 – Where do people go to start boarding legally?
20:12 – Importance of having a strong team
21:40 – Final words of advice
You can find out more about Philly Pet Care and Kristie and her husband Dave athttp://www.MyPhillyPetCare.com.

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is dog boarding in my home legal?

Is Dog Boarding In My Home Legal?

We have so many ways in this new instant economy to make money that businesses like dog boarding are sprouting up everywhere. To be honest and straightforward the answer to these questions isn’t a yes or a no.

The job of watching a pet while their parents are at work or out of town seems to be a job that anyone can do it. I have heard it all. Eight-year-old neighbor kids walking dogs, the person in between jobs, making some quick money to pay their electric bill by letting dogs come stay with her, and even some full blown businesses that have a bunch of hosts homes everywhere where the company sends the dogs to stay overnight.

prices on website

 

There Are Big Responsibilities When Considering Dog Boarding

In home dog boarding comes with some huge responsibilities both before they start their business and after. Although focusing on the cute and adorable dream of caring for the pets…sometimes it is neglected.  One of the biggest responsibilities is finding out if they are even allowed to have a dog boarding business in their own home. It is almost implied that if you can sign up for one of these easy to use websites like rover.com, care.com, dogvacay.com, etc that you very well can make money boarding dogs in your home.

But is it legal?

Think No One Will Find Out?

Sometimes I hear, “Aw, no one cares about me Bella. I am just making a little side money. What’s wrong with that?”

Ah! But people DO know. They find out through seeing different dogs and people come to and from your home. They find out by your website advertising and your facebook page that is posting pictures.

Your neighbors can hear the dogs, they can see the dogs, and sometimes… they can SMELL the dogs.

People know.

And what is worse, is some of the people who board dogs in their home might be building a business that isn’t sustainable.

All it takes is for one person to call the zoning board to have them come knocking on your door. They did this to Kristie Glazer in Philadelphia. A neighbor reported her and they literally knocked on her door ready to nail plyboard on her window frames and board up her home.

Can you believe that?!?!  You can hear the full story here

She had to stop that business and ultimately, made a huge dent in her families livelihood.

Facebook group

 

You Want To Do The Right Thing, Don’t You?

If you are going to go into business for yourself, don’t you want to know that you are doing the right thing? Don’t you want to go to bed at night knowing that you have proper training, insurance, structures, approvals, contingency plans?

If you don’t, something like what happened at Green Acres could happen and you could have 20+ dead dogs on your hands and criminal charges against you. Or what about these horrible cases that made the news:

  • Dog attacked at in home boarding
  • Dog Attacked and killed at in home dog boarding,no zoning.
  • Dog died sparked zoning investigation.zoning investigation.   The article states: “What we’re now discovering is all these boarding operations opening under the guise of pet-sitting,” said Animal Care and Control Director Dianne Sauve”

Yeah, this stuff is REAL.

You want to confidently tell your clients that your insurance covers you 100% for anything that happens.

You want to know how to properly introduce new dogs to your pack to avoid anyone getting bit in the face or have one of them injure another four legged client at your home. You want to know what happens if one gets out of an enclosure and damages your home or themselves while you are at the grocery store.

This is a very serious business.

Let’s Start With The First Check Mark You Need In Order To Be Up And Running:

Before you can even THINK of inviting dogs and cats into your home in exchange for money, you must look to see if it is even legal OR what you need to do to BE legal.

pet sitting employee manual

DO THIS: Contact City hall and ask if a special zoning license is needed to have a dog kennel in your residential house.

To show you what I mean, I took 30 minutes and googled for you. Here is what I came up with for some locations.

Los Angeles: You need a permit

San Diego –  7 or more pets

Ft Wayne Tx
Residential Kennel Permit $300
Commercial Kennel/Cattery Permit – (Requires Zoning Approval)
* 6-15 dogs/cats $150
* 16-25 dogs/cats $200
* 26 or more $250
* Omnibus Permit $200

Seattle/King County
4 + dogs or cats
Need permit

Minnesota Cities –Very long, you should read through it.

South Bend Indiana – Read Section 5-60

Maricopa County – $328 for a permit.

Utah – no more than 3 dogs in one home.

Louisville, KY – any boarding facility needs permit.

Fairfax County, VA – Depends on square footage

A great resource for looking up your local laws and ordinances is www.municode.com.

In the end, don’t you want to know that you are operating a legal business? Don’t you want to know that you have the proper insurance? That you won’t be fined? For some, it is a risk they are willing to take, but how moral is it to be operating (knowingly) and illegal business?

 

rover dogvacay insurance

No One Said It Is Easy.

In some places, you will do your best attempt and call City Hall but the person on the phone might not know. Or they might not have any laws. Some that do require laws and permits hardly ever have inspections so then all you see are the bad cases in the news when things go wrong.

As a professional pet care provider, let’s do all that we can to bring the integrity of our industry up by doing everything we need to do to operate legal businesses.

If you would like to help the integrity of this article and you locate the statute in your town or county, feel free to add it to the comments section and I will add it to the list above!

 

Facebook group

An Amazing Customer Service Idea That Will Knock Your Pet Sitting Clients Socks Off!

Recently, my family and I just went to San Diego. It is a popular destination for us Arizonan’s… or you could call it a long drive to the beach. It was our second time renting an AirBnb and after this experience, and the amazing customer service we experienced, I don’t think we will ever travel again without using them!

pet sitter customer service

Before we even left on our trip, I was ecstatic to arrive. Our host, Scott, provided me a LIST of attractions in the area, how far they were, how much time it would take, and if they were kid friendly or not. His condo came with 6 bikes, for Adults, kids, even training wheels, and the smaller cart that you can pull toddlers, like Olivia, behind in!

customer service

My husband and daughter!

Although, upon arrival, there was a small basket of goodies for us, including a bottle of wine! I was impressed. But out of all the incredible amenities provided and carefully thought out, the one I was the most impressed with was this note:

customer service pet sitting

There is wine in there! See the hand written note? 🙂

This note told me that Scott, really cared about his property, his guest’s experiences, and was always looking to improve. It was a way to disarm the customer, get them to give valuable feedback, and always be improving his service. It also made me feel like I could ask him anything I needed and it would be welcomed. {Even though we didn’t need anything!}

Customer service


Using Customer Service To Knock Your Pet Sitting Client’s Socks Off!

How many times have you sent your clients something before their service starts? Maybe something like “What To Expect With Your Pet Sitting Booking” and describing the types of communication updates they will get and a check list of things you will be going through each visit to their home.

How many of you have followed up with a “What Can I Improve On” type survey? As opposed to a “Satisfaction Survey” which is cold and corporate sounding, or… nothing at all.

Whether or not your clients had anything good or bad to say, the fact that you allow the opportunity for that open communication to happen can make the customer feel incredibly special. It is no secret that consumers buy from people they know, like, and trust. So why not implement those things in your business?

I have already told 1 friend before I even stayed at Scott’s condo and three more after. Now, I am telling you all…

Here is the link to his AirBnB listing. =)

11 Unique Gifts To Give To Your Pet Sitting Clients

The holidays are a great time to let your clients know just how much you appreciate them by giving gifts to your pet sitting clients. Whether you choose to do it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even New Years, they are sure to appreciate it. Many pet sitters take to the Facebook Groups to ask what others have given to come up with new ideas. So I thought I would compile an awesome list of 11 Holiday Gifts to give your pet sitting clients, so you didn’t have to struggle through the process! 

the

11 Gifts You Can Give To Your Pet Sitting Clients For the Holidays:

 

BarkBox

Send your dog or cat a fun box each month full of quality toys and treats. Prices start as low as $20 a box depending on the length of your subscription. With this gift idea, you don’t have to do the buying or wrapping, just purchase this box and have it shipped. Use this link to get a month for free! 

 

 

Dollar Store Galore!

Squeakers, chews, balls, and wands oh my! If you have a lot of people on your list, the dollar store is a perfect place to get holiday gifts. Be cautious of the treats, but most of the cat toys are fabulous to give as gifts. What cat doesn’t love balls with bells and fake mice? 🙂 

Big Store Stock Up 

Stores like Costco, Home Goods (one of my FAV places!), or PetSmart are a smart go-to tactic for holiday shopping throughout the year. Look for sales and stock up on items like medium to large-sized stuffed toys, pull & chew toys. And it’s great not only for the holidays but also as appreciation gifts for those without religious holiday affiliations, or “just because” throughout the year. Costco always has some great tough pet toys, candles, candies, even Starbucks gift sets sold in multiples. Might just be the perfect thing for the top 10% clients, eh? 🙂 

 

Classic Holiday Picture Card 

Sometimes a great gift is as simple as a company picture thanking them for their business. Gather all your employees for a sweet group picture and add business-friendly holiday message. Have an employee party where they all sign the cards while you are listening to festive music and enjoying each other’s company while sharing stories! Your clients will love the personal touch!

 

Gift Certificate 

This is great if you have a good relationship with a pet shop or groomer looking fo a new business that is willing to donate or discount gift certificates to your patrons. This way both business benefits, as well as your clients!  This is a great idea that you can use throughout the year as well during your networking efforts around town!

 

Make a Donation In Their Name

Go to the humane society or other local shelter or pet charity in your area and make a donation in your client’s name. Not only will you be giving your clients a token of appreciation, you’ll be helping animals in need too. You can do this either as individual donations or as a lump sum for “Clients of XYZ Pet Sitting Company.” It is the best gift that can keep on giving!  

my dog eats first

This charity was started by a pet sitter to help the pets who belong to the homeless have food to eat.

Free or Discounted Services

When you’re strapped for time or extra money, some pet sitters and dog walkers still want to give their clients something but can’t afford to. So they give a gift that they can provide. Services for free or a discounted rate. Think something like 10% of off monthly services or a free walk some have done. (I would only recommend this option if your profit margin can afford it!) 

 

Throw Holiday “Pawty” 

Take the tricks you learned from the How To Have A Howling Pet Event In Your Area and make it happen in real life. Add even more fun by having someone dress up as Santa so that clients can take pictures with their pets. Provide homemade dog treats and snacks for the humans. It’s sure to be the hit of the season.

 

Unique Gifts from Etsy (in bulk)  

Trinkets and homemade items from an Etsy store is always a thoughtful idea when showing your clients how grateful you are. Take a look at this unique wood carving that is a Christmas Ornament with your pet’s name on it. Pretty unique, huh? 🙂

 

pet sitter holiday gift ideas

 

Pet Rocks 

I have to admit, when Carol Preuett first told me that it is what she has done for her clients, I got a good chuckle. Then, she showed me a picture!  Find a local artist that can paint a rock in the likeness of your client’s pet. This one can be a little pricey, so it’s best to limit it to your top 5-10 clients. 

Carol says she has a local artist who paints these for her. The painter bases the portrait on pics Carol provide her for $35 medium rock & $40 large rock. “There’s no way a pet parent wouldn’t love one of these adorable pet rocks,” says Carol. I agree! 

 

dog walker client gift ideas

 

Photo book from Shutterfly, Simpleprints, or Photobook America 

Snap a few adorable pics of your pet clients and compile a cute little picture book. Be on the lookout for deals, sometimes you can even score one for free. You can also get great deals for these companies from time to time on Groupon. This is a truly thoughtful way to show your appreciation and love for your clients.

 

No matter what it is you decide to do for your clients, it is important to give back and it doesn’t have to always be at the holiday season. The world is full of options and they’ve chosen you to provide care for their loved ones. It’s always good to let them know that you are someone who truly cares and values their patronage.