Owning a business (especially a pet business) can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life and can also be among the most challenging experiences.

I often tell my new pet business coaching clients who are experiencing growth spurts or dry income times that owning a pet business has the power to bring us to to our knees in pain and to create some of the greatest joy depending upon the day (and sometimes the hour!)

A business is like a living, breathing entity in the way that it shifts and changes and rarely stays the same. There are often challenges to deal with (even after 18 years of owning my pet business I was still surprised by some of the odd things that would happen in regards to a pet, home, client or staff member). If you’ve owned your pet business for many years you know exactly what I mean.

Because it can be challenging it can be helpful to see your business as a spiritual teacher. I’ll be the first to admit it: besides my close relationships, owning a business has been my greatest teacher.
And I don’t mean great as in, “You are a great teacher. You deserve an apple, teach!” Nope. I mean great as in, “Whoa, you are a tough teacher! I’m really learning here. I’m even learning what I’m resistant to learning. Oy!”

Here’s why owning a pet business can be your most powerful spiritual teacher:

You never know what is going to happen in your pet business. Right?!
Not knowing what’s going to happen can help you cultivate acceptance. But only if you relax and surrender to not knowing what’s going to be coming your way. If you are internally or externally fighting against not knowing that will make you bat sh*t crazy. And miserable. So you might as well groove into acceptance. And your pet business will give you lots of opportunity to practice acceptance because you. literally. never. know. what’s. going. to. happen. (It’s enough to make you crazy but remember: pet business is one of the greatest spiritual teachers and many would even consider it to be their greatest teacher. And spiritual teachers -the good ones anyway- kick your butt into shape in order to make you into a better human being. And we can use some better human beings on the planet right now. So thank you.

You have to learn to trust. Oy!
Yes, trust. But here’s the bizarre paradox: trust is super hard for the control freaks that are often the very ones most drawn to self employment. (You know who you are.) I’m one too and I write this from experience. Ahem. So… it’s a set up for disaster because here’s the deal: the control freak starts a pet business thinking they get to control their domain (and they do–to a point) but once they get clients, pets and staff members then that control often goes out the window (much to the pet business owner’s dismay). That lack of control sucks, yes. But it’s a great opportunity to practice trust.

Self employed people have to trust that the calls and emails from new clients will come in to keep the business going going (of course, the marketing has to be done to get them but once that’s done, it’s about trust, baby.) If hiring has happened, trust needs to be given to that staff member (after you’ve done a good job vetting them of course).

Then there’s the trust that’s needed in yourself that you’ll be able to handle the endless odd situations and circumstances that come with you caring for hundreds (if not thousands) of pets and homes. It’s a numbers game, folks. When you are dealing with that many pets, humans and (if you are a pet sitter) homes, then strange things are bound to happen. Trust that you can deal with whatever arises. Because you can and you will.

Patience is a virtue (and most pet business owners need to cultivate it).
It’s not just self employed people but so many people want things to happen right here, right now. We’ve lost the art of patience and our pet businesses can help us gain it back. Aren’t we lucky?

There are countless ways to cultivate patience in a pet business so don’t worry, you’ll have lots of opportunity to work on this one.

Here are just a few ways: dealing with a neurotic client who goes on and on about her Fido, trying to pill the kitty Fluffy who is hissing at you from the top of the fridge, hearing a client’s dog piercing bark (and bark and bark) on the way to the dog park, when said barking dog eats your seat belt or poops in your car, when you’ve forgotten your poop bags. Oy, oy, oy. The list goes on. Patience is one of the highest spiritual qualities and lucky you, you’ve got a wealth of opportunity to practice it in your pet business (and if you resist patience, that resistance will make you bat sh*t crazy. Patience is a bit like acceptance in that way).

Lovingkindness (it’s not for sissies).
This can only be learned through the daily practice of lovingkindness for self and for clients (pets and human). However, the only way some can begin to even practice lovingkindness is through noticing when its opposite pops up: hatefulmeanness. Some of us are pretty skillful at hatefulmeanness (to ourselves if not others) and if so, it’s often a big stretch to go immediately to practicing lovingkindness. Some of you who are super adept at hatefulmeanness might need to step toward cranky or bitchy and then go to neutral before you can make the big leap to lovingkindness. The public can be challenging to deal with, cranky staff can be tough to deal with, house alarms going off at 2am can be tough to deal with – it’s all an opportunity to go toward love rather than anger or fear (fear is what’s often under anger).

Meditation can set you free. (In your pet business and in other areas.)
Regardless of what you call it: prayer, meditation, mindfulness – it’s all good. And practicing it (whatever the “it” is for you) will help you deal with your greatest spiritual teacher.

Try this: practice five minutes of meditation every morning. That’s it. Just five little minutes. Don’t go all guru on me but simply set the timer and breathe in and out and watch your thoughts as they arise. Really that’s you need to do to begin to untangle the resistance that will inevitably arise when you own a pet business. Soon you will be beaming like a light bulb and will feel ommmm-tastic while you run your pet business like the Buddha that you are.

About the author:
Kristin Morrison started her pet care company in 1995 and it grew to be one of the largest pet care companies in the United States before she sold it in 2013. Kristin assists thousands of pet business owners from across the United States, Canada, UK and Australia to create profitable businesses and empowered lives. Kristin is a nationally recognized speaker and has taught workshops at pet business conferences around the country.

Kristin is the founder of Six-Figure Pet Business Academy and Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy and the author of three books: Prosperous Pet Business: Interviews With The Experts – Volume One, Six-Figure Pet Sitting and Six-Figure Pet Business. Her podcast “Prosperous Pet Business” can be heard on iTunes or on the Prosperous Pet Business website. Kristin enjoys making business easy, fun and (very!) lucrative for pet business owners. You can find her at: www.SixFigurePetBusinessAcademy.com

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I’ve had a few of my pet business coaching clients want to start their year off with the healthy business activity of letting some difficult clients go.

It’s a delicate topic and one that has to be handled gently and carefully. I’m sorry to say that letting challenging clients go is is not for the faint of heart! But letting difficult clients go that have sapped your energy is always worth it.

Letting challenging clients go frees up your time, your energy and creates space in your business to take on an Ideal Client who you love working with. It’s worth it.

Because here’s the thing: your difficult client might be costing you more money than they are bringing to the business.

When we have a difficult client we often spend a lot on self care activities to try to manage the stress the challenging clients are causing.

Money from that client gets spent on massages, therapy sessions, ice cream and any number of things that we may give ourselves to ease the pain that the difficult client brings us. And yes, these things may numb the pain (for awhile) but they don’t create permanent help. And often the difficult clients can become even more challenging the longer we work with them. Dealing with a difficult client on an ongoing basis can create less hair (from all the hair-pulling!) and more neck tension. Not good…

But don’t worry. There is hope.

You don’t have to keep a difficult client.

But you do need to do it ever-so-gently.

It’s important to think of your client as an egg when you are getting ready to let them go. (Yes, think of that pain-in-the-butt client as a breakable egg.) If you had an egg in your hand you wouldn’t just throw that egg down. You would place it gently down so it doesn’t break. Same with your challenging clients.

When you break up with a client, it can bring up feelings of rejection for them. And that hurt feeling can cause them to write nasty reviews about your company. And we don’t want that. So let them go ever so gently (like an egg) if you want a peaceful and drama-free breakup.

Here’s How to Break Up With a Difficult Client:

1) It’s always best to ‘break up’ over the phone than email or text and you want to start the conversation with honest appreciation. Dive deep within and find something that you’ve enjoyed when you’ve worked with them or their pet (Fluffy is such a great dog, you’ve been so generous with me, I really appreciate ____).

2) Be firm, but compassionate. Do not use wishy-washy language (don’t say ‘I think maybe, perhaps, it’s not a good fit’) and don’t leave wiggle room for them to think you’ll work with them again. Saying that you don’t think it’s quite the right fit will give you the least amount of push back from your difficult clients because it makes it less about them and more about it not being quite the right match.

3) Try to sound breezy and light when you are talking, even if you’re not feeling that. I get it. The frustration with this difficult client has probably been there for awhile but don’t let that affect your delivery when you are letting them go. If you are snarky with them it could ruin your reputation and you don’t want that. Be understanding and sympathetic because here’s the reality: they are probably going to miss working with you and it’s a loss for them. You may not miss them (not at all!) but they (and their pets) will most likely miss you.

4) Don’t blame. Playing the blame game isn’t necessary and it will only hurt you in the end. Be mature and adult about the situation and keep your cool. Again, light and breezy. Ahhhh…

5) Keep your conversation with them brief. Do not go into a long-winded explanation about why you are letting them go. Be honest and clear and keep the conversation short.

6) Be professional. If you’re already partway through caring for their pets it’s important to complete the job. If you haven’t yet worked together offer to refund them their full deposit and help them find someone else who will meet their needs. If they’re going to have to scramble to get care for their pets, try to give them as much notice as possible.

7) An “Affirmation Sandwich” is always the way to go when breaking up with a client. End the conversation with another positive authentic and honest affirmation about your experience in working with them. Something like “I really enjoyed working with your pets” can be a truthful, simple way to end the call (leave out the part about the humans being challenging!) It’s important to leave people better than when you found them.

Good luck! And be sure to reward yourself with something really special after you’ve let a challenging client go. You deserve it.

Want support to help you break up with difficult clients, create work/life balance and create a pet business plan that will rocket blast your pet business this year (plus get your pet business automated in a way that lets you relax and enjoy 2017?)

The 4-Week Pet Business Jumpstart Program starts soon! Click to find out more and to sign up now and save.

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Hi there, pet business owners!psa_web_logo

I wanted to share with you that we are so happy to have Pet Sitters Associates as a Platinum Sponsor for our 2016 Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference!

Don’t know who Pet Sitters Associates is and what they do?

This information below will help you get to know this GREAT company:

Q What is Pet Sitters Associates?

A. We started Pet Sitters Associates in 1998. Our philosophy has always been to help individuals throughout the United States start up their pet care businesses at the most affordable rates possible. Pet Sitters Associates proudly offers membership benefits that include pet business insurance administered by RPS Scobie Group and underwritten by an AM Best rated: A (Excellent) Insurance Company.

Q. What is the cost of the basic membership, which includes liability insurance?

A. The cost is $190 for membership and insurance through Pet Sitters Associates. The membership and insurance is good for one full year from the time of joining and can be effective immediately at www.petsitllc.com.

Q. What are the member benefits?

A. You will gain access to a library of resources including our customer checklist and archived newsletters, quarterly newsletters, and the option to be listed on one of the largest online pet business directories and pet business liability insurance.

Q. What is the cost if we have additional partners/spouse/employees?

A. The cost is $90 for each additional person on your policy.

Q. What type of pet care business does the basic liability cover?

A. It covers pet sitting in the pet owner’s home, pet transportation, pet walking, and pooper scooper services.

Q. What if I bring animals into my home?

A. Members need to purchase the optional pet daycare coverage to extend the liability insurance to cover incidents at their home or pet daycare operation. The cost for this additional coverage is $155 and can be added for up to 3 employees/ICs.

Q. Do you offer a bond?

A Our Broadened Property Damage/Bond coverage costs an additional $100. This coverage provides $10,000 per occurrence or $25,000 of insurance coverage annually for the theft, breakage, and mysterious disappearance of the personal property of the pet owner while under the care of you, your employees, your independent contractors, or your incidental helpers. Please note if you do not purchase this additional coverage, there is no coverage under your basic membership policy for loss, damage, or theft of the owner’s personal property.

Q. What if I do any housesitting without animals?

A. You would then need to add the house sitting coverage for an additional $100. House sitting without pets present cannot exceed 45% of the total pet care business revenue.

Q. What about grooming?

A. Pet grooming coverage for an additional $50 would need to be added. This coverage provides basic insurance for individuals who cut hair or nails while pet sitting. If you are only bathing and brushing pets, there is no need for you to purchase this.

Q. Do you have any type of coverage for Obedience Training?

A. Yes, our dog obedience training coverage costs an additional $155. If you are only offering basic dog obedience training (sit, stay, come) when provided in direct conjunction with your pet sitting work, you are already covered under your basic membership insurance. This coverage is for those who offer training outside of their pet sitting work. This policy does not provide coverage for protection, guard, fighting, attack, or police dog training.

To find out more and sign up for membership today visit Pet Sitters Associates online today: www.PetSitLLC.com

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Hi there pet business owners, pet-sitter-plus-logo-400

Today I am interviewing Richard Booty the CEO of Pet Sitter Plus.

Q. Richard, what would you say is the biggest change in the world of Pet Sitter Plus this year?

A. Well, Kristin, it’s easy to assume that all Pet Sitting Businesses have similar requirements, but actually they are as unique as the people who run them and they all want to store different information. This year, Pet Sitter Plus offers new functionality that enables clients to make unlimited changes to their database. We call this feature “Custom Fields” and it has proved to be incredibly popular. Custom Fields means that our clients are totally in control. They don’t have to ask us to make changes, they simply add whatever they need to their own databases; questionnaires, new fields, new sections and headings, you name it.

We also added support for ACH which provides our American clients with an option to take payments directly from their client’s bank accounts. ACH can save up to 50% on standard credit card processing fees so there is an obvious benefit.

Q. Are you seeing any major trends in the pet industry?

A. Yes we are, but it depends on the size of your business as to what is important to you. Smaller business owners still do everything themselves, so often their highest priority is to be able to do everything on the mobile. Larger businesses have very different requirements. We support a growing number of businesses who are incredibly successful running huge teams of pet sitters. These larger clients often schedule between $30k to $250k worth of services each month and they typically have one or more office based administrators. Speed, reliability, ease of scheduling and invoicing are still key requirements of larger businesses and existing solutions are letting them down. Pet Sitter Plus not only enables our smaller clients to grow, but this year we have also attracted many larger businesses as new clients.

Q. Why do you think the larger businesses are coming your way?

A. If you are handling a huge schedule, you need your system to be fast and reliable. It’s that simple. We hear horror stories of owners waiting 50 seconds to open a client record or XYZ service being offline for 3 days in a row. Pet Sitter Plus is speedy and reliable and our clients really appreciate that.

To find out more about Pet Sitter Plus visit www.petsitter-software.com

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book photo contest banner 2016Want to win a prize (or two!) just for taking a picture with your smart phone?

The Six-Figure and Prosperous Book Photo Contest is happening from now until September 15, 2016!

This is the fifth annual book photo contest and it’s been so fun to get the pictures that have been sent to me so far. It is pure delight to open Instagram or Facebook and see your picture. Thanks to those of you who have sent in your photo submission. 🙂

Book Photos
Haven’t submitted your photo yet? No problem!

Entering the book photo contest is easy:
Simply snap a photo with you and/or your pet and any one of my books (or all three of the books!) and then tag me in the photo on Instagram or Facebook.
(If you prefer to email me the photo, that’s fine too.)

Please note that the final date to submit your (one) picture is September 15, 2016 so submit your picture early before the deadline creeps up on you. 🙂

First prize:

45-minute pet business coaching session with me
$250 worth of pet business products and success recordings
2 webinars of your choice

Second prize:

25-minute pet business coaching session with me
$100 worth of pet business products and success recordings
2 webinars of your choice

Third prize:

$50 worth of pet business products and success recordings
1 webinar of your choice

Looking forward to seeing the picture you submit!
Kristin Morrison signature

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Facebook Conference Ad 2016Are you a dog walker, pet sitter, dog trainer, pet groomer or dog daycare owner? The 2016 Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference starts on September 28, 2016 and it’s FREE.

Join pet business experts including Ian Dunbar, Victoria Stilwell, Pet Sitters International and more!

The pet business conference goes from September 28 to October 11, 2016. When you sign up you’ll receive daily speaker interviews filled with tips and tools you can use immediately to generate more profit and ease in your pet business.

Click to find out more and to sign up now for the pet business conference.

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Instagram Webinar ImageI’ve had a few of you let me know that you missed the Instagram for Pet Business Owners webinar I did for dog trainers, pet groomers, dog day care owners, pet sitters and dog walkers last week.

If you are one of the folks that missed the live webinar or if you are interested in growing your pet sitting or dog walking business using Instagram, I’ve got good news!

The Instagram For Pet Business Owners webinar recording is now available for only $20. You’ll discover how to find and get clients using the Instagram platform (it’s easy!) and the recording also comes with a Instagram tips and tools booklet that was created especially for pet sitters and dog walkers.

Instagram is the hottest social media site today (yes, even more than Facebook) so if you want or need more clients for your pet sitting or dog walking business, you’ll want to be marketing on Instagram. It’s fun, easy and free!

Click for more information on the webinar recording How to Grow Your Pet Business Using Instagram.

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