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Katrina Kadyszewski

Episode 20: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some resources they discuss are the IRS’s  20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor, and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage to make the right switch.

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

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Episode 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 17: Should Pet Sitters Still Offer Overnights If They Have To Pay Per Hour?

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses whether you should still offer overnights if you have to pay per hour? This is a hot topic because during this election year many are talking about raising the minimum wage, in some places as high as $15/hour.  In California, not only is the minimum wage being raised but they are mandating sick days and other things which are really going to cost businesses more and more money.

Education is Key to This Decision!

Bella emphasizes that you really need to educate yourself on the legislation in your particular state, what risk that implies for your  business, and what it will cost your business to comply. She says she really wants you to focus on the right team members (bookkeeper, CPA, lawyer) and to reach out to your state’s Department of Labor. Learn as much as you can and then make your own educated decision. Don’t listen to everyone on Facebook or your competitors!  Just because someone else elects to take one action doesn’t mean it’s the right one.

So, should you still offer overnights?  The easy answer for some will be no because they figure if they have to pay someone $15/hour for 8-10 hours, they would have to charge at least $200 for an overnight and they believe their clients would never pay that.  Bella points out, that could mean you are automatically giving up (what is on average) 20% of your revenue. In short, she recommends that you still offer overnights even if you have to pay per hour.

Put it on your website (with or without the price) and make sure you price it according to the 30/30/40 rule (30% for the business, 30% for you, and 40% for wages). Just be aware of what happens when you get to 40 hours (another great question to ask your state’s Department of Labor).

Remember, you don’t get to decide what is too expensive. Your clients do.  If a client does tell you it is too much, simply explain why it is that high.  Then offer them a less expensive alternative like 3 visits a day.  Let them know that it will probably be alright but if they feel that still isn’t enough then they could try the overnight option.

How To Sell Overnights:

Bella points out that if you don’t at least offer the option then visitors coming to your site looking for that option will “bounce” over to another service’s site.  Leave it on there. Keep them on your site. Engage them in a conversation giving them the reasoning and statistics and let them make the decision.

Another question to ask your state’s Department of Labor is whether or not you are exempt from the minimum wage due to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which states that people who make less than $500,000 don’t have to adhere to it.

Add More Value:

You could also consider additional value for these overnights like perhaps sending video and photos. You might include things like taking out the trash and/or sorting the mail. Add value to the overnights and make them exclusive benefits. Any of these additional values can help make a client feel better about spending the money.

Bella points out that in reality most pets are perfectly fine sleeping by themselves and that the real benefit offered in overnights is making the client feel less guilty about leaving their precious pet.  So let’s appeal to them and keep offering this service. Because if you don’t you have no idea just how much money you might be leaving on the table and walking away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why be bitter? Attitude is everything!

Senior PortraitsIt is said that it takes more energy to be mad than to be happy. Being in the pet industry, how could one ever be mad? Personally, I am greeted by wagging tails, sloppy kisses, and purring kitties most of the day. It is great!

A few weeks ago I was helping a person with a billiard company and we “shopped” his competition by calling his biggest competitor. The first five minutes of the conversation was this other business owner trash talking his “competition.” I was appalled and honestly turned off. This person spent so much energy on being negative, and not highlighting the positives about his business that he actually came off as insecure to me. Next, we explored the advertising mediums. As suspected, this person’s “cheery” disposition (not) was also reflected in the print media they were utilizing.

Most recently, I was searching through pet sitting websites. I am sad to say that I found a similar incident. It surprises me how some want to focus on (what they perceive to be) the negative’s of other businesses, while ignoring the fact that they should be spending their time, energy, and advertising opportunity to positively highlight the caliber of their business. How about highlighting the good things about your business and why you are different rather than bashing other companies? Take the high road. Be confident. Set yourself apart from the rest by being unique. Slinging mud is for the playground.

I am not sure how you all feel, and would love to know, but wouldn’t you feel a little put off if you were trying to research or buy from a company and all they were doing was bashing the other businesses in the industry? I don’t even want to call it competition, because clearly they are on different levels. My impression was that this other billiard company, and then pet sitting company, was highly insecure, and perhaps even bitter about something? In any case I would not want either one working for me because lets face it, in the world we live in…who needs more negative energy?

More energy spent on being mad… less energy spent on the business? Hmmmmm?

I Can't Help The People That Aren't Willing To Do These 4 Things:

“When doors open, it is still your responsibility to walk through them. So get stepping!!!” – Andrew P.

pet sitting business coaching

If you have ever had the opportunity to work with me, I start out by telling you that I have two rules.

RULE #1 – You are your own worst enemy.

RULE #2 – Who cares about the competition.

Rule #1 is the one I am about to focus on and rip apart. Are you ready?

So many times in life things leave us petrified by fear. Like the petrified forest in Muir Woods, nothing has changed in hundreds of years… Our own thoughts and perceptions in life is what holds up captive.

I meet so many smart, intelligent, creative minds… that are sometimes trapped by nothing else other than just themselves. So how does someone get out of it?

FOUR THINGS TO STEP OVER SO YOU CAN START STEPPING FORWARD!

1 – Get over yourself! Stop thinking that the world begins and ends with you… not everyone is watching you and you are not the best thing since sliced bread.

2 – You will make mistakes! The sooner you realize you are going to mess up, the easier it will be to accept it. You are not perfect. Just when you are able to take the step and have someone JUMP with you (www.jumpconsulting.net) then it will be easier along the way becasue I will look back and tell you “Don’t make that mistake. I did and it sucked!”

3 – You can’t always make everyone happy.Don’t let your fear of not for filling others plans for your life prevent you from moving forward. The more you know about yourself and who you are, the easier this will be. Not everyone is going to agree with your decisions, but in order to move forward with confidence, you need to be confident in yourself.

4- Stand up to the voices in your life that are not you. All too often, while trying to impress others, we give up self in order to for fill their projected outlook on our lives. THEY DON’T MATTER (to an extent). You must have a strong sense of self, direction, and passion to push forward. No family member, spouse, or friend can hold you back…unless you let them.

These are the same things that prevent us from setting goals. From turning dreams into reality. You attitude should be filled with I CAN. Not… “I can only if…” You must get rid of the stinking thinking, acknowledge that you are not perfect, you can’t always make everyone happy, and make a conscious promise to yourself to take a STAND in your life!!!!

You CAN do it. Why? Becasue no one else can do it for you.

If you would like that extra accountability, sounding board, and encouragement… consider shooting me an email. I love being a cheer leader and big doses of motivation to push you forward for YOUR OWN goals…

danielle@jumpconsulting.net

I Can’t Help The People That Aren’t Willing To Do These 4 Things | pet sitting business coaching services

“When doors open, it is still your responsibility to walk through them. So get stepping!!!” – Andrew P.

pet sitting business coaching

If you have ever had the opportunity to contract my pet sitting business coaching services, I start out by telling you that I have two rules.

RULE #1 – You are your own worst enemy.

RULE #2 – Who cares about the competition.

Rule #1 is the one I am about to focus on and rip apart. Are you ready?

So many times in life things leave us petrified by fear. Like the petrified forest in Muir Woods, nothing has changed in hundreds of years… Our own thoughts and perceptions in life is what holds up captive.

I meet so many smart, intelligent, creative minds through my pet sitting business coaching services… sometimes they are trapped by nothing else other than just themselves. So how does someone get out of it?

 

FOUR THINGS TO STEP OVER SO YOU CAN START STEPPING FORWARD!

1 – Get over yourself! Stop thinking that the world begins and ends with you… not everyone is watching you and you are not the best thing since sliced bread.

2 – You will make mistakes! The sooner you realize you are going to mess up, the easier it will be to accept it. You are not perfect. Just when you are able to take the step and have someone JUMP with you (www.jumpconsulting.net) then it will be easier along the way because I will look back and tell you “Don’t make that mistake. I did and it sucked!”

3 – You can’t always make everyone happy.Don’t let your fear of not for filling others plans for your life prevent you from moving forward. The more you know about yourself and who you are, the easier this will be. Not everyone is going to agree with your decisions, but in order to move forward with confidence, you need to be confident in yourself.

4- Stand up to the voices in your life that are not you. All too often, while trying to impress others, we give up self in order to fulfil their projected outlook on our lives. THEY DON’T MATTER (to an extent). You must have a strong sense of self, direction, and passion to push forward. No family member, spouse, or friend can hold you back…unless you let them.

These are the same things that prevent us from setting goals. From turning dreams into reality. You attitude should be filled with I CAN. Not… “I can only if…” You must get rid of the stinking thinking, acknowledge that you are not perfect, you can’t always make everyone happy, and make a conscious promise to yourself to take a STAND in your life!!!!

You CAN do it. Why? Because no one else can do it for you.

If you would like that extra accountability, sounding board, and encouragement… consider shooting me an email. I love being a cheer leader with my pet sitting business coaching services to you. I have a big dose of motivation to push you forward for YOUR OWN goals..

Have You Copied A Pet Sitting Website?

copy pet sittingCopying another business is NOT a form of flattery. Any business owner who knowingly directly copies another business is stealing.

When a copycat steals another person’s information for their own use it shows that their own business culture is lacking. If a business is solid and has clear direction and uniqueness than no other businesses principals, websites, forms, etc can ever become another businesses because it just doesn’t fit.

As a business coach, I see and hear about this happening frequently. I have seen, or it has been brought to my attention: that chunks of websites being copied, marketing pieces, service agreements, types of services, unique names, even logos have been directly copied!

It has been my experience based on the 3 people that have come to me in the past two months, that when the person is confronted they are less than wiling to admit that they stole something and change it. This is sad. It is the same thing as walking into a store, grabbing something and walking out without paying for it.

Now I am all for creative juices flowing and sometimes you have to “shop” around. Sometimes you mix and match what you see but what should always happen is that the business should PUT THEIR OWN SPIN ON IT. Lets face it, almost every wheel has already been invented. What are YOU going to do to help RE-INVENT it and make it your own?

Think twice before you copy someone. It is illegal, and shows that you can’t think for yourself.

Goal setting – the pipe dream with an end | Small business coaching

GOALS are so important to anything in life. If you don’t know where you are headed, how the heck do you know how to get there. Recently, I have been struggling with some very tough decisions. (more on this later) However if I didn’t have personal and business goals in mind there would be no rhyme or reason to any decision I make. I do not wander through the woods – I pave a path towards a destination.

Last year for BHPS I actually wrote down my goals on a white board. I thought it was a pipe dream! In an economy where there is a “recession” When I hear business owners complaining all over that their businesses are failing… I took a steady look at my goals and thought ” How the heck do I get there? ” Jan and Feb 09 were one of the worst months ever in the past 8 yrs I have been in business. Why do I think this was? Simply put – the media SCARED everyone into thinking we were doomed. That the world was ending. It was at this point where I was faced with a really difficulty decision….Should I do what every other person was doing and lower my rates? I was getting told NO a lot on the phone. It made me question everything I was doing. What did I do? I went back to what my GOALS were. No, I just don’t mean a fiscal 2009 goal – but what I wanted for my life, what lifestyle I wanted to afford to live, what sort of time I wanted free for the important things in my life, what I wanted for a future with Bella’s… many things went through my mind.

It was at that point that I decided SCREW IT – I want to keep building this business and that is what I am going to do. I forget where I heard it, but the quote “You can’t change the way the wind blows, but you can change the position of your sails” was PROFOUND to me and I took that and ran.

That is when I started the Gift Certificate program. Even though I was the highest priced sitter in an area where there were over 40 pet sitting companies, and interestingly enough people were HURTING bc everyone was living above their means and on a borrowed dollar….I decided to keep my prices right where I wanted. I struggled a lot with quality over quantity and decided to stay true to my roots. What I originally intended for my business. To have a quality service at a premium price. Not a quantity service at a discount price (no offense meant to anyone at all).

This program saved my toockas! (butt)
All the vendors on there gave me free advertising. I had pizza boxes being delivered to homes with my flier on them! (and sooooo much more too)

MORAL OF THE STORY Having my clear set goals in mind, knowing who I was, and standing on solid ground… when the “earthquake” (aka recession) hit I was able to make my move while not jeopardizing who my business was. This is so pivotal for business owners to really understand. KNOW who you are. KNOW who your business is. KNOW where you want to go with it. If you do, your decision making process will be that much better and like me, by the end of ’09, we were 20% UP falling just a few thousand short of what I thought was a “pipe dream goal”

DREAM….
THINK….
SEARCH….
THEN SET GOALS AND MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY

YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF !

Look at all the successful entrepreneurs… they did not faulture (sp?).
Ben and Jerry’s was broke for 7 yrs before they took off.
Michael Jordan was told that he would never be on Varsity HS Bball.
…..and so many more….

By the way…. Bella’s is UP 53% since the doom and gloom of Jan 09. (Written Jan ’11)

How To Set Great Goals In Your Pet Sitting Company.

Goals are so important to anything in life. If you don’t know where you are headed, how the heck do you know how to get there. Recently, I have been struggling with some very tough decisions. (more on this later) However if I didn’t have personal and business goals in mind there would be no rhyme or reason to any decision I make. I do not wander through the woods – I pave a path towards a destination.

Last year for BHPS I actually wrote down my goals on a white board. I thought it was a pipe dream! In an economy where there is a “recession” When I hear business owners complaining all over that their businesses are failing… I took a steady look at my goals and thought ” How the heck do I get there? ” Jan and Feb 09 were one of the worst months ever in the past 8 yrs I have been in business. Why do I think this was? Simply put – the media SCARED everyone into thinking we were doomed. That the world was ending. It was at this point where I was faced with a really difficulty decision….Should I do what every other person was doing and lower my rates? I was getting told NO a lot on the phone. It made me question everything I was doing. What did I do? I went back to what my GOALS were. No, I just don’t mean a fiscal 2009 goal – but what I wanted for my life, what lifestyle I wanted to afford to live, what sort of time I wanted free for the important things in my life, what I wanted for a future with Bella’s… many things went through my mind.

It was at that point that I decided SCREW IT – I want to keep building this business and that is what I am going to do. I forget where I heard it, but the quote “You can’t change the way the wind blows, but you can change the position of your sails” was PROFOUND to me and I took that and ran.

That is when I started the Gift Certificate program. Even though I was the highest priced sitter in an area where there were over 40 pet sitting companies, and interestingly enough people were HURTING bc everyone was living above their means and on a borrowed dollar….I decided to keep my prices right where I wanted. I struggled a lot with quality over quantity and decided to stay true to my roots. What I originally intended for my business. To have a quality service at a premium price. Not a quantity service at a discount price (no offense meant to anyone at all).

This program saved my toockas! (butt)
All the vendors on there gave me free advertising. I had pizza boxes being delivered to homes with my flier on them! (and sooooo much more too)

MORAL OF THE STORY Having my clear set goals in mind, knowing who I was, and standing on solid ground… when the “earthquake” (aka recession) hit I was able to make my move while not jeopardizing who my business was. This is so pivotal for business owners to really understand. KNOW who you are. KNOW who your business is. KNOW where you want to go with it. If you do, your decision making process will be that much better and like me, by the end of ’09, we were 20% UP falling just a few thousand short of what I thought was a “pipe dream goal”

DREAM….
THINK….
SEARCH….
THEN SET GOALS AND MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY

YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF !

Look at all the successful entrepreneurs… they did not faulture (sp?).
Ben and Jerry’s was broke for 7 yrs before they took off.
Michael Jordan was told that he would never be on Varsity HS Bball.
…..and so many more….

By the way…. Bella’s is UP 53% since the doom and gloom of Jan 09. (Written Jan ’11)