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Episode 82: Scaling Your Business Into A Well-Oiled Machine With Randa Clark

Today’s Podcast features the inspiring Mompreneur, Randa Clark, from Tailchasers Pet Heroes Inc. Randa started Tail Chasers Pet Heroes Inc. in 2004 with the mission to help people discover, develop, and nurture the human and animal bond with their pets. She offers dog walking, pet sitting, dog training, and pet first aid classes to pets and their families in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Tailchasers Pet Heroes Inc. received the Super Service Award from Angie’s List in 2016 as well as the People Love Us On Yelp Award.

In this episode, Randa and Bella discussed some of the strategies that Randa used to turn her pet sitting company into a pet business empire. Do you struggle with multitasking, being a control freak, or successfully balancing the business between you or your spouse? Then this episode is for you! 

Success

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

Instead of devoting your entire life to the business, make your business fit into YOUR life. Scheduling business operations around your day-to-day tasks like picking up the kids from school or spending time with family will help you find that work-life balance that all business owners so desperately need. Also, be sure to give yourself some time each day to work on advancing the business to the next level. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the pet sits and dog walks, but ensuring you’re taking strides in your business instead of running in place is crucial to success.

An office manager is NOT going to be exactly like you – and that’s okay! An office manager is a person that is going to allow you to really grow and scale your business so much more than you’re able to if you continue to do day-to-day operations yourself. At the end of the day, there are qualified people out there that can answer the phone and answer emails just as good as you do – you just have to find them (and give them the tools to succeed!). Empowering and valuing your office managers to make them feel needed is what will allow them to be successful in their role.

A fact-based mindset is a key tool that will help you deal with crises and emergencies that inevitably arise in any pet sitting company. Taking the emotions out of your response and deciding what you can do to mitigate the situation factually will allow you to make the best decisions for your client. In other words, you can’t change the past, but you CAN change your response to it!

The more time you can spend out of the field, the more time you can spend advancing your business. Randa’s advice? Build up a route of clients, and then hand it off to an employee! The more you do this, the more income you’ll have on hand, and the less time you’ll have to spend in the field. The goal is to have the client’s alliance with the COMPANY and not to the DOG WALKER.

Show Highlights

  • How Randa learned to multitask to get work done quickly [2:30]
  • Evolving your business and focus; Pet Sitting Vs. Dog Walking only [3:15]
  • Decision making for a better business [7:00]
  • The Good and the Bad of Hiring an Office Manager [10:45]
  • How to let go of control [15:00]
  • Managing a business with your spouse [16:15]
  • Separating yourself from the field for success [19:00]

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

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

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

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

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

pet sitters

Maureen McCarthy

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

pet sitting business

David Steinberg

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

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

small business

Cara Armour

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

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Episode 57: Lead Through Strengths With Lisa Cummings

Description

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

pet sitter marketing

Lisa Cummings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Lisa

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

Links mentioned in this episode

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Episode 55: Financial Planning in Your Business With Paul Adams

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

business coaching

Paul Adams, President and Found of Sound Financial Group

They discuss:

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

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

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

Links

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

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Episode 54: The Power Of Telling Your Story

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

public relations

Andrew O’Brien

They discuss:

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

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

ThePublicityGuy.com

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

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

pet sitting business

Justin Recla

They discuss:

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

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

You can find out more at ClearBusinessDirectory.com.

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Episode 51: Selling Your Business With David Barnett

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

pet sitting small business

David Barnett

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

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

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

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

You can reach David in the following ways:

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Episode 48: Social Media & Faith In Your Business With Heather Heuman

On this episode Bella speaks with Heather Heuman,  CEO/Founder of Sweet Tea Social Marketing, Elizabethtown Family and the
Founder of Sweet Tea Social Marketing Academy.

social media pet sitting business

Heather Heuman

Bella and Heather discuss:

  • What social media can do for your business
  • What steps you should take to make social media work for you
  • What effects bringing her faith into her business had on it.
Heather is the CEO/Founder of Sweet Tea Social Marketing, Elizabethtown Family and the founder of Sweet Tea Social Marketing Academy. She is a social media speaker, strategist and trainer that specializes in helping Christian business owners and entrepreneurs, discover how to grow in today’s noisy social marketplace. Heather has corporate and locally-based client experience and enjoyed speaking at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year. She’s a proud wife and mother of three kiddos under 12 and is excited about her new podcast Business, Jesus and Sweet Tea is launching June 2017.

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Episode 47: Customer Experience With Joey Coleman

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

  • 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 acknowledgements
  • Doing a monthly quick check of the pet (for any issues)

    Pet Sitting Customer Experience

    Joey Coleman

  • Giving the pet a bath unexpectedly
  • Sending quick personalized videos of the 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.

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

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

hire Background Checks costs

Jason Waggoner

They discuss:

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

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

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

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

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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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Episode 39: Vision Is Victory With Carey Conley

On this episode, Bella talks with Carey Conley, speaker and Co-Creator of Infinite Nation; a community created for skill building, mentorship, and community for aspiring leaders and business owners.

business coaching

Carey Conley

Bella and Carey talk about:

  • Why “Vision is Victory”….especially for entrepreneurs
  • The biggest stumbling  blocks for people to actually put a vision down on paper and follow through with it
  • What happens when people try to run a business without a clear, concise vision
  • Community and accountability

You can find out more about Carey Conley and the services she offers on her website at InfiniteNation.com.  You can email her directly at carey@careyconley.com

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Episode 38: Branding & Content Marketing With George Thomas

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

Content Marketing for pet sitting

George Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

business coaching

Tarran Deane

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

alphabet principleBella and Tarran discuss:

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

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

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Episode 36: They Ask, You Answer with Marcus Sheridan

On this episode Bella speaks with Marcus Sheridan, a former pool guy turned digital sales and marketing expert.  He is the President of The Sales Lion and a Partner at River Pools and Spas.

business coaching

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

Bella and Marcus discuss:

  • The philosophy of “They ask, you answer”
  • Why business owners are afraid of just giving honest answers to potential customers
  • The five subjects that move the economy.
  • The dangers of “Ostrich marketing”
  • How important video is becoming to the marketing process
  • Assignment selling
  • Face to face sales appointments without you being there.

Marcus Sheridan’s book: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer (available on Amazon)

Masable rates it as the #1 Business book and the New York Times calls Marcus

You can find out more about Marcus at https://www.thesaleslion.com.

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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 19: A Look Back at How A Pet Sitting Business Started & Grew with Kristie Glazer

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

 

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Kristie Glazer from Philly Pet Care, a family-owned pet-sitting and dog-walking company in Philadelphia. Kristie talks about how she got started and what changes she made that really helped her business grow.

After graduating college, Kristie and her husband moved to Philadelphia which is near where she grew up in South Jersey.  She was a teacher for a little while and then a sales rep for a shipping company. But she wasn’t happy.  She sat down and thought about what would make her happy….the answer….dogs!  She figured she lived in a city now and people probably needed dog walkers. Before her husband got home that day from his job as a chef, she had a full business plan worked out.  She told him she planned to quit her job and start this business. He told her to go ahead and do it!

{Don’t you just love that?}

So Kristie did it. She started a website. She started cold calling and giving people her card.  She would take any job that came along (which she says in retrospect is a mistake many new business owners make). She did start  to grow the business though, which at the time was called “Personal Pet Care by Kristie”, and continued on for four years adding clients as she went.

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Bella notes that having that moral support from our loved ones really can help catapult our businesses from the start. Maybe not necessarily our business numbers, but it certainly helps us with our tenacity.

Kristie continued by saying that when she first started the business, the ironic thing was that they lived in an apartment where they could not even have pets. So they naturally had to refuse requests for overnights or doggie daycare.  But they eventually moved to a place where they could have pets and started offering both of those services.The business got so busy that they moved to their own home and Dave quit his job as a chef and joined the business!

Kristie said they had some major bumps in the road along the way. In fact, she wishes in retrospect that they had had a “team” (lawyers and accountants) early on as it may have helped them avoid some of the roughest bumps.

One bump, she points out, was a failure to secure all the licenses needed to board dogs in their home. It led to a neighbor calling Licensing and Inspections on them resulting in them having to cease doing the boarding for two years while they worked out all the necessary issues (including getting their home zoned to be a kennel).  

Kristie talked about a point in time when they were working constantly in the business. It was just her and Dave and trying to juggle the business and their three year old son got to be too much.  She came across Bella and Jump Consulting and as a result made some changes.  They rebranded to “Philly Pet Care”.  They revamped  their website and added professional photos and higher quality business cards.

They raised their rates, which caused many customers to go away, but with the higher rates they still made that money back. They cut out the doggie daycare which Kristie said drove her nuts anyway. They made those changes four years ago and Kristie said doing all that gave them back their sanity and the business has been humming along smoothly every since.

Bella says what she is hearing is that they now have a clean system and process and that their business works for them and not them working for the business. Bella paints the analogy of the bow and arrow.  She said that, at that time, Kristie and Dave were like a bow that needs to get pulled back a little bit so that it can get released and send that arrow soaring forward. But notes that it really stinks when you are going through it.

Kristie agreed. She says it is difficult and a lot of work but it is so worth it in the end. She notes that you have to grow though, because if you don’t grow your business will fail.

Bella then asks Kristie about the future of Philly Pet Care.

Kristie says they are still doing the dog walking services in Center City (Philadelphia). They do still do overnights, but only for dogs they have a walking relationship with.  Dave and she hope to remove themselves more and more from the business. Not remove themselves completely because she and Dave like to make sure they personally know each and every client. In fact, she believes that is what really helps set them apart. They have two employees now but hope to have more in the future so they can have more time off.

Kristie also said they are starting to plan for retirement. They are at a point with their business where they are making enough money to really start saving for the future. So that, maybe in 10 years or so, they could be in some form of retirement. But she notes that she doesn’t really see herself ever completely letting go or selling the business.  She has even pictured their son ultimately being the owner of Philly Pet Care.

Bella compares a successful small business to having built your own beautiful home.  You can live in it until the day you die. You build yourself a quality life with the luxury of having options.

Bella wraps the episode by telling  Kristie how proud she is of everything Kristie and Dave have accomplished.

You can find out more about Philly Pet Care and Kristie and Dave at http://www.MyPhillyPetCare.com or to hear about the rebranding experience Kristie had with Bella a few years ago, you can watch the video here.

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Episode 16: Getting Rid of Toxic Relationships

Bella In Your Business

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

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

Bella Has Dealt With Bad Apples…

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

Consequences To Keeping Negative People Around:

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

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

Are YOU The Bad Apple?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is It Really Them, Or You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Could your business be like a bad “I Love Lucy” episode? | Systems and Processes In Your Business

Beautiful picture, huh?

That was where I was “snowed in” for three days back in 2011.

Heber, AZ 1/1/11

I left Phoenix on Wednesday morning to go for a quick ride up to Heber, AZ with some friends and family. They were going to stay till Friday, and I was going to come home on Thursday.

Well, mother nature had other plans and I was stuck there for three days later than I had planned. 

This incident got me thinking about you all… can your business survive if you were removed?

Can it survive and go on as “normal” if you were taken out of the mix for a couple of days during a holiday without a hitch? Or God-forbid there was an emergency?

My pet sitting company did, and it only survived because I had systems and processes in place. I was able to enjoy a worry free “impromptu” vacation while my staff was on the ground during New Years weekend.

(Side note – reading this back in 2018 and realizing this was only a test for what happened in 2014 is almost comical)

 

Playing in the snow

 

 

Systems and processes are so important in every business.

 

Think about the conveyor belts. You can throw things onto it (system) and the belt keeps moving (process) and the people that are adding things to the product (replicating the system over and over again) keep doing their job.

Without systems and processes – it could be the demise of your business. When bad things happen, or you need to step out, many of your clients aren’t going to care what is going on with you and they are going to expect that the professional company their hired and paid, has processes in place to keep it running smoothly.

They hired a professional company for peace of mind and it is every business owner’s responsibility to follow through on that.

 

Can your business keep running?

What about if one of your staff went MIA? (that has happened to me before.)

What about if YOU went MIA? Is there always someone who knows that you are “alive” or would there be days that go by and no one would notice?

Admittedly, nothing can ever be perfect….but we can all strive for excellence, right?

In my case, the State of Arizona closed the roads going home, and I had 20 clients out of town. That would have been a lot of damage control to be doing without a solid back up plan. I was very thankful for my trusted staff, who were already scheduled for 100% of the visits.

I just sat back drove some ATV’s, sat by the fire, cooked, enjoyed friends and family, and learned what “cabin fever” was.

I was able to check messages, make calls, maybe work about a total of 30 minutes a day and managed to book lots of business each day for the weeks ahead. No one even knew I was gone unless I told them. This worked on 30 minutes a day because the already established systems were efficient and didn’t require a lot of extra work or steps.

 

If you were removed from your business… would it still run?

 

Or would it look like a funny I Love Lucy episode? (*The belt going faster is like the HOLIDAY RUSH!) Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

 

Could your business be like a bad "I Love Lucy" episode? | Systems and Processes In Your Business

Beautiful picture, huh?

That was where I was “snowed in” for the past three days.

Heber, AZ 1/1/11

I left Phoenix on Wed morning to go for a quick ride up to Heber with some friends and family. They were going to stay till Friday, and I was going to come home on Thursday.

Well mother nature had other plans.

It got me thinking about you all… can your business survive if you were removed? Can it survive and go on as “normal” if you were taken out of the mix for a couple of days during a holiday without a hitch?

My company did, and it only survived because I had systems and processes in place. I was able to enjoy a worry free “impromptu” vacation while my staff was on the ground during New Years weekend.

Playing in the snow

Systems and processes are so important in every business. Think about the conveyor belts. You can throw things onto it and the belt keeps moving (process) and the people that are adding things to the product (replicating the system over and over again) keep doing their job.

Without systems and processes – it could be the demise of your business. I hate to break it to you, but many of your customers or clients will not care what family emergency you had or if something happened to you. They hired a professional company for peace of mind and it is every business owner’s responsibility to follow through on that.

What about if one of your staff went MIA? (that has happened to me)

What about if YOU went MIA? Is there always someone who knows that you are “alive” or would there be days that go by and no one would notice?

Admittedly, nothing can ever be perfect….but we can all strive for excellence, right?

But when the State closed the roads going home, and I had 20 clients out of town, that is a lot of damage control to be doing without a solid back up plan. I was very thankful for my trusted staff, who by the way, were already scheduled for 100% of the visits. I just sat back drove some ATV’s, sat by the fire, cooked, enjoyed friends and family, and learned what “cabin fever” was.

I was able to check messages, make calls, maybe work about a total of 30 minutes a day and managed to book lots of business each day for the weeks ahead. No one even knew I was gone unless I told them.

SO…..If you were removed from your business… would it still run? Or would it look like a funny I Love Lucy episode? (*The belt going faster is like the HOLIDAY RUSH!) Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!