surprised ladyI’m so excited, pet business owners!

I’ve got SOMETHING BRAND NEW coming for pet sitters, dog walkers, dog trainers, pet groomers and doggy day care owners.

I’ll be announcing what it is on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook on March 2, 2016!

If you are signed up for my weekly newsletter you’ll find out about it that way also or feel free to check back on this page next week and you’ll find out what it is.

I think you are going to like it. Stay tuned…you’ll find out what it is next week. 🙂

Doing my happy dance,

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complicatedI had an epiphany a few years back when I realized how similar hiring pet sitters is to dating.

Here’s how hiring is similar to dating:

  • You have to be crystal clear about what you want so that you can recognize that person when they show up.
  • It’s important to notice red (and yellow!) flags. Clear communication is crucial.
  • You both have to want the same thing (each other).
And here’s the tricky part: anyone can hire someone. But you don’t just want someone with a pulse. Right? These are your precious human and animal clients and your equally precious business. You want someone who is the right fit for your company.
It really is so similar to when you are actively dating to meet the right person: when you are hiring pet sitters to work for you, you quickly realize that hiring the right people requires skill. The good news? This hiring skill can be taught.
I’ve honed my hiring mojo through hiring over 250 pet sitters when I had my business. When I sold it I had 35 staff members. I’ve seen what works (and what really doesn’t) when it comes to hiring pet sitters and dog walkers. I learned the hard way and I’m excited to help you not learn the hard way!

I’ve successfully taught thousands of pet sitters from all parts of the globe how to hire really great people to work for them.

Are you ready to hire good people?

I’ll teach you how to hire wonderful pet sitters in the upcoming hiring webinar.
Want to have more time, make more money and enjoy your business more?

Hiring great people to work in your pet sitting business will help you do just that.

This upcoming webinar will help you hire easily, effortlessly and quickly. Ahhh….

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Welcome to the new year! Are you ready to create your best year yet?  sparkler

Every year I create a Best Year Yet plan for my own business and life. Inevitably every January I often get a lot of dog trainers, pet sitters, pet groomers and dog walkers who want to create a business plan for their pet businesses.

January is a great time to create a business (and life) plan but really a business plan can be started anytime for the next 12 months. The important thing is to Just Do It. A business plan is crucial; it sets the GPS for your business.

If you aren’t clear where you want to go, how can you get …anywhere in your business?

(You can’t.)

Not having a yearly business and life plan is why a lot of pet business owners are floating around in their businesses…not accomplishing much and yet feeling stressed, busy and overworked. With clarity and a plan stuff gets done. And relaxation can occur when stuff gets done.

You can work with me to create your a business plan for your pet business (I’m happy to help you, the Best Year Yet process works and it’s life and business changing). Prepare to be amazed at what you can create in 12 months.

And you can start this very moment with my free business plan for pet business owners.

I created it just for you. Happy New Year!Kristin10

Have fun designing your best year ever,

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turkey I wrote this post on Facebook a couple of years ago and wanted to share it with you in honor of the humble turkey and Thanksgiving.

Last November I was riding my bike down a sidewalk on a busy street in my town and I saw a turkey.

Yes, a turkey.

He was on the sidewalk and so was I. I got off my bike so I could pass without scaring him.

As I passed, he began clucking at me. (Yes, turkeys cluck. I know that now.)

Then he began running toward me.

He came up close and looked up at me. Looked me deep in the eyes.

No joke.

He clucked.

He looked.

He clucked some more.

He was about a foot away and his head came to my knee.

It was like he knew me. (I’d never seen him before.)

To my untrained eyes he appeared to be a teenager turkey.

I said hello and then I began walking my bike away.

He clucked excitedly and ran after me.

He walked beside me. He became obviously distressed if I got too far ahead of him. The clucking would increase and he would pick up the pace so that we were walking side by side.

People in cars stopped and stared.

People across the street stopped and stared. Camera phones came out and I’m sure I appeared on many Marin county Facebook pages last November.

The turkey would stare intently at me with his little black eye on the side of his head.

He was truly LOOKING at me. He was present in a way few humans (including myself) are.

He wouldn’t let me out of his sight.

There was something oddly comforting about him.

Each time I would stop, he would stop. When I began walking, he would walk. It was the avian version of Simon Says.

I walked to a park to get him away from the speeding cars. He found a worm or something in the grass and promptly forgot about me.

I noticed that I felt more than a bit disappointed that food could get in the way of our connection.

I got on my bike slowly. I hoped he’d see me leaving and come running after me as he had all the way down Fifth Street.

But no.

He was busy looking for food.

I felt oddly alone as I rode my bike home.


I told a few friends about the experience and I thought about the turkey from time to time, wondering how he was doing.

I wondered if he’d gotten hit by a car. That thought made me very sad.

So I tried not to think about it.

Last Tuesday I was riding my bike on the busy street and low and behold, there was a turkey on the sidewalk.

I got off my bike and sure enough: he came running up to me, making a slightly deeper clucking sound than I remembered from last year.

It was him!

Same turkey. I’m sure of it. Unless all turkeys like me this much.

He was a tall adult now and last year’s drab brown feathers shown iridescent.

He was so beautiful.

He clucked excitedly and followed me as I walked my bike down the street.

People stopped and stared.

“I’ve never seen anything like that! A wild turkey following a person,” one guy said. “He really likes you.”

“Yes, I met him last year,” I replied, as though I was talking about an old friend. “Perhaps I’m the turkey whisperer,” I mused.

“Perhaps you are,” the guy said in wonder.

He took a picture of us. I smiled. Turkey looked up at me with adoring eyes.

Other people lined up on the opposite sidewalk to stare at me and Turkey walking down the sidewalk. Cars stopped and iphones came out.

We are probably on Facebook again this November. Me and Turkey.

We walked beside a retirement home and a woman who worked there came out. “That turkey peers in the window at the residents sometimes. They love him. They become animated and alive when they see him.”

“Oh, that’s sweet.” I stared at Turkey and he stared back at me, clucking.

“There are a few wild turkeys here in San Rafael,” the woman continued. “One got hit by a car last year and we had a funeral for him. A lot of people came to the turkey funeral. Everyone who came was quite upset.”

“I’m so glad it wasn’t this guy,” I replied.

“Yes, he seems to really like you.”

We walked away, me and Turkey. We stopped at the red light and then when it turned green we walked through the crosswalk.

People stared and pointed, pointed and stared. I felt a little embarrassed. Like we were famous or something. Turkey looked intently at me as we crossed the street.

We reached a patch of grass and he began rooting around for worms or bugs or whatever it is that turkeys eat.

I kept going.

I looked over my shoulder at one point, hoping he’d run after me.

But he didn’t. He was deeply focused on whatever was in the grass.

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trademarkAre you one of the rare few pet business owners who have a trademark for your pet business?

If so, you don’t need to read this. Run along! Have fun!

But if you don’t have a trademark for your pet business…please do read this. Reading this may save you thousands of dollars – and a lot of heartache down the road. (And we all know how important it is to save money and to be good to our hearts.)

A few years ago I was coaching a woman who had a business name that was similar to a well-known franchise.

I alerted her to this in her coaching session and asked her if she was aware of the franchise and the fact that her business name was very similar to that franchise.

“Oh yeah”, she said. “I know about that franchise but my business is such a small business that it’s not going to be a problem. And my business name isn’t identical so it’s not a big deal.”

I strongly recommended that she change her name because I suspected that it might become a problem at some point.

She decided not to change her name.

She didn’t want to go through the hassle of changing her business name. She also said that it would cost too much to change all her marketing materials.

In the next session I again urged her to change her name.

But she didn’t want to and so she didn’t. (I will usually bring up ‘red flags’ a couple of times in my pet business coaching sessions and after that, I let it go. I’m here to shine the business flashlight for my clients, not cram it down their throat.)

A few years later I received a frantic email from this same woman. The franchise had contacted her and had demanded that she change her business name immediately or they would take legal action against her.

She was scared. She was also angry that this big, horrible (her words, not mine) company was coming after her because here she was a small company and wasn’t competing with them, a big franchise. And her name wasn’t identical. Why would they bother coming after her? (She was pissed. But underneath the anger -as it is for most of us- was fear.)

She lost a lot of sleep for the next few days and finally decided to change her business name. She didn’t want to spend the thousands of dollars to fight this company and both I (and her attorney) told her she would have lost the case anyway, since her name was so similar and they held the trademark.

I’ve had to deal with this a number of times in my own business…

Recently someone was using the phrase ‘six-figure pet business’ in their marketing materials and many of you alerted me to this (thank you, dear ones, you guys are the best!)

I sent an email alerting this person to the fact that I hold the trademark and that using that phrase is illegal. Who knows if this person realized that what they did was illegal (it doesn’t really matter if they realized that or not) but what matters is that I, as the business owner, need to defend my business name, especially if it’s causing confusion for my clients. And if you have the trademark for your business name and someone is using the same or similar name then it’s important for you to defend your business too.

And don’t worry – if you have the trademark for your business name then defending your name will probably come naturally for you as some of our most primal feelings come up when we see someone who is using our trademarked business name. Those primal feelings are usually enough to fuel us to take action!

I had to do a lot of trademark defending when I owned my pet sitting and dog walking business. I had the trademark for my business name and had to ‘go after’ business owners who had similar -or the same- names as mine.

I disliked doing that (one of my least favorite parts of owning a business is defending the trademark, let me tell you) BUT when similar names create confusion for clients (even if the businesses with similar names are on opposite ends of the country) it’s one of those actions that you simply have to take as a business owner.

And this is why when that franchise went after my client, I didn’t blame them at all. Her business name was creating confusion for their company. They had to defend their company. And if it happens to you and your trademarked business name, you will need (and want) to do defend your business too.

So, pet business owners, here are some action steps for you around trademark issues:

1. If you don’t have a trademark, get a trademark for your pet business name. As soon as possible. (And be sure to use a lawyer to set up the trademark because that will ensure that if it’s yours to get, you will get it. Years ago I had the experience of applying for a trademark and my application was rejected. I then used a lawyer to apply for the trademark and they were able to successfully get me the trademark.) Please note that the application approval or rejection process can take many months so you’ll need to be patient.

2. If your business name can’t be trademarked then change your name so it can be trademarked. (The longer you wait, the more painful it will be to have to change your name if someone comes after you for trademark infringement. And when that happens, it won’t be pretty and it will be very expensive if the trademark suit goes to court.)

3. If you have a trademark and someone is using your name (or a very similar name that could cause confusion), contact them with a friendly email first. I know, I know. Believe me, I know. It feels like someone is stealing your business name -and they are and yes, it’s illegal- and you are probably angry about that but do give them the benefit of the doubt. They may not know that your business exists. They may not be aware that you hold the trademark for that business name. (It’s unlikely in this age of powerful search engines but you never know.) Assume their innocence. Keep the email short and sweet and write something simple like: “I’m not sure if you are aware or not but I hold the trademark for ______ (your business name). Your business name is identical (or very similar) to mine and is causing confusion for my clients. Please change your business name by _______ (date). Failure to do so will result in legal action. Thanks.”

4. If the ‘friendly email’ doesn’t work then you’ll want to hire a lawyer to send a ‘cease and desist’ letter to them. (My fiance’ is a lawyer and he tells me that in the legal world those ‘cease and desist’ letters are called NastyGrams.) 🙂

trademark 2If you need to send a ‘NastyGram’ or need to have a trademark attorney set up your trademark for you, I recommend searching online for “low cost legal aid” or “Pre-Paid Legal” and your town to find an inexpensive attorney in your area who can help you.

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A couple of weeks ago I tagged along with my guy on a business trip of his (one of the perks of him having a corporate job). We were at a beautiful spa resort enjoying an all expenses paid work trip and I was in heaven. Heaven!

One night we had dinner with VIPs from Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Farmers Insurance and the Today Show.

Sounds impressive, huh? Don’t go there yet….

I had a beloved pet business coaching client recently say to me with more than a bit of shame: “I am just a dog walker” and I became a lioness defending her and the pet profession.

She said to me, “I live in New Jersey and ‘rank’ is very important here. When I tell people I am a dog walker they roll their eyes and look down on me.”

We talked about ‘rank’ in our call and what I told her during her coaching call is that being in the pet business is a very noble and profound profession.

Anyone who goes to ‘rank’ isn’t someone we would want to associate with anyway.

And what I want to tell her after that dinner with those VIPs is : “I am so touched, moved and inspired by how incredibly human and wonderful and ‘non-ranking’ these top-ranking executives are that I met that night.”

I was at dinner with the Today Show executive and he cried as he looked in my eyes and told me about being in New York on 9/11 and how he lived right down the street from the World Trade Center and how his apartment was filled with smoke for days and how terrified and sad he was.

And then there was the Farmers Insurance guy who talked so lovingly about his new Ridgeback puppy; he was so happy and excited about his new pup that his eyes were shining bright.

And the ‘high ranking’ Sam’s Club executive who shared about her teenage son who is a good kid and she talked about him with such pride (it was so very, very sweet).

Oh and the Best Buy lady got teary when she told me about the daughter she adopted from Guatemala when she and her husband were having a really hard time having their own kid (and of course when they adopted their Guatemala baby she promptly got pregnant).

I walked away from the lovely, lovely dinner that night with these ‘high ranking executives’ with a deeper awareness of how we are all just people trying to live our best life in the best way we know how. No one above or below (although it may seem that way at times).

We are all just tender folks having a human experience. greatness

If you are feeling shame that you are ‘just’ anything: Let the shame go. It doesn’t serve you.

You are not ‘just’ a dog walker (or a pet sitter or a dog trainer). You are a business owner and an amazing human being. Claim what you do and hold your head high. Taking care of pets is a noble profession.


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I have always talked about how using pet sitting software is essential if you want to achieve balance in your pet sitting life. Today the key question is still “How do you decide what pet sitting software is right for you?” Today we interview Richard Booty, the CEO of Pet Sitter Plus. pet-sitter-v2

We are happy to have Pet Sitter Plus as a sponsor of the Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference.

Q. Richard, please tell me a little bit about Pet Sitter Plus?

A. Pet Sitter Plus is a global brand of software serving the USA, UK and Australia. Our aim is always to deliver an innovative software product whilst setting new standards of support for the industry.

Q. When there are many brands of software around today, what made you decide to start Pet Sitter Plus?

A. In 2009, my wife was running a pet sitting business with software that was not working. The supplier did not really have the time to talk to us so the relationship was challenging. We asked ourselves four questions; a) Is this software reliable? b) Can we get world class support? c) Do we like the software? d) Do we know where this software is headed?  The answer every time was no so we set off on a quest to build a unique software product that could be delivered with world class support.

Q. What does world class support mean to you?

A. Many pet sitters have tried and failed to make software work for them and we think this is mostly down to support.

We wanted to create a world where support was more freely accessible so we set out to recruit a team of expert sales and support coaches that were uniquely skilled in their roles. Our team consists entirely of pet sitters who have benefitted so much from using Pet Sitter Plus that they have joined us to help spread the word. This unbelievably valuable team of experts helps us to deliver exceptional, one to one product training absolutely free of charge.

Q. You say people should ask the question “Do you like the software?” Isn’t that a bit obvious?

A. Yes I suppose it is a bit, but the serious point is this; when you have found a good fit for your business, focus on the question “Do I like using this software?”. By that I mean – Is it well designed? Easy to use? Fast? Intuitive? Because if it’s not, then it’s unlikely that it ever will be.

Q. How do you communicate your future vision to your clients?

A. Our clients join us for a journey and trust us to deliver the future. At Pet Sitter Plus we always have our next 10 product releases planned out in some detail for anyone who wants to know where we are headed.

Our aim is to be a supplier that you can talk to and trust. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but based on the reaction from our clients, every bit worth the effort.

Visit Pet Sitter Plus at

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