Hi there dog walkers, pet sitters, dog trainers, pet groomers, and doggy day care owners, CORRECT_speaker_box_2015_rev

The Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference has started! And guess what? It’s FREE (yes, free!).

And it’s online so you can watch, listen and learn from top pet business experts from wherever you are in the world. We have attendees from Korea, UK, Australia, etc. It’s a very international group and we welcome you all.

We also have many top pet business experts speaking including Victoria Stilwell, Patti Moran from Pet Sitters International, Ian Dunbar, Andrea Arden and me, Kristin Morrison! Plus many other speakers. So many good ones. 🙂

Victoria Stilwell has kindly offered her video free for unlimited viewing so check it out by clicking on her name. All the other speakers will have 24 hour viewing for free and if you miss the speaker dates, no worries. You can purchase the pet business conference video package for a low price for a limited time.

See you at the pet business conference,

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I was purposefully late to the smart phone craze because I saw what it was doing to my friends and family (checking the phone can become an unhealthy obsession appfor many of us, can’t it?).

But once I got it, I realized that the smart phone is a tool and we can choose to have it help our lives or hurt our lives (which can happen when we slip into that obsessive mode that all of us can get into from time to time).

Below are 9 apps that I wanted to share with you. Some of them will help you be more productive in your business and others will make living your life more fun, meaningful and rewarding. (Don’t forget that we need to have a fun and meaningful life in order to truly thrive in business.)

1) Moment This is an app that will track your phone usage throughout the day. Especially helpful for those who find themselves compulsively checking their phones. You can also set this app up to track your entire family’s phone usage (especially helpful if you want more quality non-screen time with your kids).

2) Freedom This app will block all distractions like social media (Facebook!) across all devices including your laptop and phone. You set the timer for how long you don’t want to be allowed on certain sites in order to fully focus on the task at hand. Think of it like your mom in your computer. It works.

3. Coach.me You may find this app listed as ‘Lift’ (not to be confused with ‘Lyft’) on the app store. I love, love, love (a thousand times love) this app and use it daily. You set up items you want to focus on weekly and daily (Some of mine include: working out at the gym, hiking, drinking more water, creating a daily to do list, yoga, do a random act of kindness, etc.) You decide how many times you want to do each item each week and Coach.me will remind you about doing it. You check off what you’ve done each day. You can invite friends to follow your progress and you can follow theirs. I have found that my self care ramped up even more when using this app.

4. Sparkpeople Oh my. This app has helped me eat better (so important for running a business!), exercise more, lose some weight and even drink more water! Yes, it really is that amazing. Here’s how it works: You track what you eat each meal and it counts calories, carbs and fat content of each item. If your prepackaged food item isn’t listed in the Smartpeople database (and most are), it has a scanning bar that allows you to scan the food item to read how many calories, carbs, etc. are in that food item. I can’t recommend this app enough. Because I’m tracking everything in this app it’s created extreme consciousness for me around what I’m putting in my body and how much I’m moving my body. I just love it.

5) Insight Timer OR Headspace  Both these apps are great for helping you carve out time for mindfulness and meditation. If you have had difficulty in the past in calming your mind I recommend trying headspace as it’s a fun and easy guided tutorial. If your challenge around mindfulness and meditation simply involves getting yourself still and quiet then the Insight Timer will be enough for you. Both have limited versions that are free. When you purchase the complete Insight Timer you can set what kind of bell you like to go off when you meditate (I really like that feature so it’s worth the few dollars it costs). The Headspace app complete version requires a monthly fee. Try the free versions of each app first to see which one you like and if you are ready to dive in, it might be worth investing the money (when we pay for something we are more likely to actually use it!)

6) Podcasts I fell in love with podcasts when the “Serial” podcast came out (you may have heard your friends talking about it). There are many educational podcasts out there but for this blog I want to share some podcasts that are just downright fun. Podcasts are a great stress-reliever when you are out walking dogs or in your car driving to a pet sitting or dog training job. It’s also a great way to simply relax after a busy workday. There’s something about simply listening vs. watching and listening (like we do when we watch TV) that can calm the spirit and the mind. (And being free of stress helps us be more productive!) Here are some free podcasts that I HIGHLY recommend: Serial (as I mentioned this series hooked me on podcasts and it probably will hook you too. It’s a great one to start with), This American Life (there are so many great segments but you might want to start with these episodes: The House on Loon Lake, Switched at Birth, and The Leap). And some other podcasts that you might find fun to listen to while you are driving or doing the dishes: Death, Sex and Money (oh my! this one! I just love it.), Invisibilia, RadioLab, and a new one I just discovered called This is Actually Happening–please note that some episodes are very disturbing so it’s definitely not for everyone (and some episodes are way too much for me so I just move on to the next one). Oh and for this This American Life: I purchased a special app for This American Life ($4.99) so I could have access to all the archived episodes. If you get hooked on This American Life, you might want that special app too. Oh, and did you know that I have a podcast out? Yep! It’s called Prosperous Pet Business podcast and you can get the episodes delivered to your smart phone on iTunes or you can listen to it on the Prosperous Pet Business podcast page.

7) Quicken or Quickbooks (or whatever financial software program you use). If you are new to the world of pet business and aren’t using a financial program yet I recommend starting with Quicken as it’s easiest for those new to financial computing. Both Quicken and Quickbooks have apps that allow you to scan receipts to keep track of your expenses and jot down your expenses in the system very quickly and easily. If you have been in business for awhile and don’t have your financial program also on an app, I recommend that you get that app as soon as possible as will be a big time saver when it comes to your accounting.

8) Waze This app is great because if you are headed to a client’s house you can see where the traffic might be that would cause you to be late. This app also allows you to see if there are any cops in the area in case you are prone to speeding or doing the ‘California stop’ at stop signs. Getting pulled over always makes being late an even worse experience. (Please note that cops are trying to get their visibility from being shown on the app but so far haven’t been successful in having that feature removed.) Because this app will show you the shortest route possible this app will save you time, gas (and face, if you are running late).

9) Wunderlist Got a lot of To Dos on your plate? This app will help you organize and prioritize. And it syncs to your computer and your smart phone so whether you are at home or out and about you can keep track of what needs to be done and when. Start with the free version and if you love it and want the extra features then it might be worth it to purchase the business or pro version.

Happy app-ing! Kristin4

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I am the type of person who, when someone asks me whether I want the good news first or the bad news, I always pick hearing the bad news first. business killing you

Here’s why: I want to get the bad news out of the way and end the conversation on a lighter note and with positivity. A lot of the pet business owners that I coach do that also. It happens when we are going over their successes and disappointments at the beginning of their coaching session.

“Which do you want to share first..your disappointments or successes?” I will ask. Inevitably they will pick the disappointments first.

So…that’s what I’m going to do here, pet business owners. I am going to start with the ‘bad news’.

Here it is:

It’s been said that ‘compassion fatigue’ is killing some members of our pet business industry. Compassion fatigue has many of the symptoms of PTSD, among them being depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Dr. Yin was a well-known and beloved dog trainer who committed suicide last year. Many of those closest to her believe that her suicide was caused from Compassion Fatigue. yin

Jessica Dolce is a certified compassion fatigue educator. She says:

“Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard of our work with animals, whether you are an animal control officer or kennel attendant in a small town or an internationally recognized veterinarian. Our work requires that we compassionately and effectively respond to the constant demand to be helping to those who are suffering and in need.“

Compassion fatigue comes from caring for people and pets and forgetting to care for ourselves. It comes from not putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first.

Pet care providers (dog walkers, dog trainers, pet sitters, pet groomers, and doggy day care owners) often find themselves shelving their needs and wants for those of their human and animal clients. This leads to burnout which leads to exhaustion which can then lead to compassion fatigue and all that comes along with it (depression, anxiety and wanting to ‘end it all’). Are you at the burnout stage or are you experiencing compassion (and business) fatigue?

Psychotherapist J. Eric Gentry tells the Sacramento Bee:

“Animal care professionals are some of the most pain-saturated people I have ever worked with. The very thing that makes them great at their work, their empathy and dedication and love for animals, makes them vulnerable.”

Here are just a few ways of how compassion fatigue can manifest to the detriment of some the pet business owners I’ve personally worked with:

-No time for family and friends. This can result in a deep and dark loneliness and despair over time if left unchanged.

-No downtime to just BE. The compulsion to check smart phone, pet business software, voicemail, computer, Facebook and other social media sites becomes an obsession/addiction. This results in always feeling like the pet business owner is ‘on’ and always working.

-When a vacation or day off is scheduled the pet business owner finds it challenging (and in some cases impossible) to follow through on that vacation or take that day off due to client’s needs and neediness. This results in a sense of life being only about work by placing client needs above the needs of the pet business owner.

-If a vacation or day off is scheduled and the pet business owner does goes away or enjoys a day off inevitably some business emergency happens and the pet business owner comes rushing back to the office or client to take care of whatever went wrong in their absence. (Or they will find themselves not enjoying their vacation/day off but rather ruminating about what happened. This can lead to despair from never getting that break that is so desperately needed.)

I know compassion fatigue from personal experience because I suffered from it though I called it ‘business burnout’ when I had it. I was working 12-14 hours a day in my pet care businesses (working to the point of exhaustion) and I felt anxious and depressed a lot during that time. It took me a long time to recover and it started with working less and setting more boundaries in my work and in my life. It wasn’t easy. But I did recover. And you can too.

So how can pet business owners combat (and recover from!) compassion fatigue? good news

Okay so I promised you good news and here it is. There are tangible ways to deal with compassion (and business) fatigue.

Just a quick note before you read the tips below because…

You can read all the tips in the world but if you don’t follow them then they won’t help. The key then is to begin to make some big and small changes in your business and your life. Start small by picking one from the list below. And yes, it probably will feel uncomfortable. Changing behaviors and ingrained ways of being always does feel uncomfortable when we first begin. But this is your LIFE we are talking about here. You are worth it. Your pet business will be just fine and your clients will respect you more too when you follow these tips. Remember: we teach others how to treat us. This includes your clients, staff, friends and family.

1. Set office hours and keep them. This means NOT checking email, text messages, computer and voicemail at times other than your scheduled office hours. I know, it’s not easy. But it will get easier over time. Be sure to have these office hours posted on your automatic email to clients as well as listed on your voicemail so clients know when they can expect you to contact them.

2. Stop sending and receiving business texts. Clients and staff members often expect instant replies when they text. And when you reply quickly and outside of your office hours this gets them in the mindset that you are available all the time. If you REALLY need to continue receiving and sending texts then let your staff and clients know you will only be texting between your office hours. Hide your business phone from yourself. Turn off the ringer. Stick it in a drawer. Do whatever you need to do to separate yourself from your business cell phone.

3. Set up a minimum of two one-week vacations each year. Put these dates in your calendar. Make them sacred and immovable by not letting clients or business get in the way of your actually going away. These two weeks a year are yours. You deserve them.

4. Put exercise in your schedule and do it 4-5 times a week. No matter what. Exercise helps with depression, anxiety and despair and these are all symptoms of compassion fatigue. I recently coached a pet sitter who had the hardest year she’s ever had (family members died suddenly in an auto accident, her business was struggling, etc.) She kept exercising in spite of the challenges that had come her way and she not only lost 20 pounds but she was also able to deal with her stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

5. Enjoy your hobby once a week. If you don’t have a hobby write a list of things you’d like to explore doing and pick one from the list to see if you enjoy it. A good hobby will refresh and energize you. If yours does, then keep doing it. If it doesn’t, find something that takes your mind off work and allows you to expand and grow in new ways.

6. Cultivate your relationships like the living, growing beings that they are. Your friendships need to be watered. Many pet business owners that I’ve spoken with have few or no friends. It’s sad but true. The reason for this is they turn down invitations from friends or don’t initiate getting together and after awhile friends will stop asking and/or you will grow apart. Even getting together with one friend once a month can make a world of difference in your emotional and mental outlook in your business and your life. We need others. Make time for your friends. They are worth it and so are you.

7. Pick 2 exciting-to-you goals that have nothing to do with business and set out to accomplish them. Focusing on non-business activities creates a rich inner and outer life (you will find yourself thinking about other things other than you business which will give your ‘business brain’ a well-needed rest). These life goals could include dating and/or getting married, starting an veggie garden, buying a home, or perhaps learning to play piano. The world is your oyster. What sounds fun and exciting to you?

It can be very challenging for pet business owners to put yourself first, above your clients and client pets. Your very life may be at stake if you don’t so please, please take (good) care of yourself.

IS YOUR PET BUSINESS BURNING YOU OUT? YOU’LL FIND SOLID TIPS AND TOOLS TO GET YOU BACK TO FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS AGAIN IN THE HOW TO RECOVER FROM PET BUSINESS BURNOUT RECORDING
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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 California before she sold it Kristin4in 2013. Kristin provides business coaching for thousands of pet sitters, dog walkers, dog trainers, and pet groomers across the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia. In 2008 she founded Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™ and Six-Figure Pet Business Academy™ providing coaching, webinars and business products for pet business owners. Kristin wrote the books Six-Figure Pet Sitting, Six-Figure Pet Business and the Prosperous Pet Business book series, all of which can be found in print on Amazon and in eBook format on her websites: www.SFPSA.com and www.SFPBacademy.com.

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Got pet business issues/challenges/problems? business challenges

I have helped thousands of pet business owners from around the country including dog trainers, pet groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers and doggy day care owners.

I can help you too!

Read more to find out how and what I coach pet business owners on in their pet businesses.

Click this link to find out more and to sign up now for pet business coaching.

I look forward to helping you, Kristin4
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Want a free pet business coaching session or some pet business products (or both!) ...and some fame and glory for you and your pet?book photo contest image

The Six-Figure Photo Contest starts NOW and ends on May 15, 2015!

It’s easy to submit your contest photo for a chance to win.

Here’s how (and what!) you can win:

1. Take a picture of your pet with one of the Six-Figure books (selfies with you, your pet and the book are great too!)

2. Post your photo entry on my Facebook page, or the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy FB page or Six-Figure Pet Business Academy FB page starting TODAY and until May 15, 2015.

Submit your picture of your pet with one of the six-figure books and you could be this year’s winner!

Here are the prizes for the 2015 Photo Contest Winners*:

First Place Winner Will Receive:

  • 50-Minute Business Coaching Session with Kristin
  • $250 Worth of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any Two Upcoming Webinars

Second Place Winner Will Receive:

  • 25-Minute Business Coaching Session with Kristin
  • $150 Worth Of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any Two Upcoming Webinars

Third Place Winner Will Receive:

  • $50 Worth of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any One Upcoming Webinar

*Contest ends on Friday, May 15, 2015 so enter your photos soon! One photo entry per person please. Winners will be chosen on or before June 15, 2015 and all awarded product and webinar selections must be chosen by winners on or before June 30, 2015. Coaching sessions for contest winners must be completed by June 30, 2015.

Post your photo entry on my Facebook page, or the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy FB page or Six-Figure Pet Business Academy FB page starting TODAY and until May 15, 2015.

Kristin4Good luck to you all!

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Hello dear pet business owners,mobile friendly

Google has changed their algorithm yet again (silly Google!)

Here’s what this means to you in very simple terms, oh pet business owner:

If your site is not mobile-friendly you may not show up (at all) on Google. Which could be very bad for business. Ouch!

Here’s what you can do right now to check and see if your pet business website is mobile-friendly:

1. Enter your pet business website url in the mobile-friendly Google check.

2. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’ll be prompted to click the “Make This Page Mobile-Friendly” section on the right side.

3. You will be alerted what needs to change (either by you or your web person if you are not able to make the changes yourself).

For those of you who used a web designer/programmer to create your website, I encourage you to contact them ASAP to see what the cost would be to make your site mobile-friendly for Google. Put this action item on your to do list this week so you can continue to have clients find your pet business website online!

Warmly,

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Want to create more success in your pet sitting or dog walking business? Kristin4

OR

Want to start a pet sitting or dog walking business?

If so, I created this FREE Pet Sitting Tips and Tools Booklet just for you. 🙂

If YOU are ready to start a pet sitting and dog walking business or if you want to take your pet sitting and dog walking business to the next level, click to download this free pet sitting and dog walking tips and tools booklet now.

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