Pet Sitting as a Lifestyle Business - 2
Part 1 was a popular read - here is Part 2
Why am I writing a Part 2 on the topic of pet sitting as a lifestyle business? I think because people were curious about the concept and are looking for me to talk about it a little more.
Let's look then, at the small business experience, particularly professional pet sitting, from a different, or deeper, perspective.
The business world can be very matter of fact. People in business can often be in a hurry, very results-oriented, financially focused, and technology-dependent. The initial vision a person has for his/her business may soon morph into something other than the owner intended thanks to mounds of paperwork, computer tasks, and lots of other day to day necessities that make up a business.
Sometimes people start out with the "warm and fuzzies" of a pet sitting business, but then as the business gets busier, the owners get more task-oriented and soon it becomes just like another job.
Question: How can this be prevented?
Answer: Focus hard on being a lifestyle business. Be intentional.
Before going further, I invite you to check out Part 1 at https://www.preciouspetsct.com/post/pet-sitting-as-a-lifestyle-business
where I explain what a lifestyle business, as it relates to professional pet sitting, is all about. If you don't have time, continue reading this post. You can always go back and read Part 1 later.
In Part One I shared that it is my belief that "lifestyle" pet sitters are people who express their business goals in ways that do more than just bring them an income. It is a business model that fits into how they want their daily lives to be. It is living out an interior vision of who they want to be and what they want to do while they are living on this earth.
A lifestyle pet sitting business is more than just about making a positive difference in the sitters' personal lives by doing something they love, but it is also achieved by making a positive difference in the lives of others - human, furry, feathery, scaley, or fishy!
I'm going to share with you some of the things I did, that for me, truly made my pet sitting business become more than just a typical money-making business. The decisions I made were not just about business - they were about the deeper well-being of my clients, their pets, and me. They were about the bigger picture of life, of customer service, and my belief that we are all on this planet to help each other.
You've probably heard the phrase that we should "live intentionally" - we should have a reason for doing something. For me, my business Precious Pets, was much more than about making an income (although that was nice and necessary). I kept trying to intentionally come up with ways to make my business more special, more attentive and caring, more creative, and more like how I wanted to express my life and give to others. In the end, those decisions brought me much happiness and satisfaction.
Without further adieu here are some things I did that I feel made my business a "lifestyle business", and might help my fur-loving readers understand this whole concept a little better.
I really tried to listen to the needs of my clients and then tried to go above and beyond their expectations. I'd ask myself, "How would I want to be talked to, served, and listened to by a potential pet sitter for my pet?" and then I'd move in that direction.
A simple thing I did that took a little extra time but was well worth it, was that after I had the initial meet and greet with a potential client, I'd go home and type up what we discussed and sent it to the client. Doing this showed that I understood their pet care needs. This also earned me additional clients because sometimes clients interview several pet sitters before choosing one, and time and time again I heard from clients that they chose me because I spent that extra time documenting their pet needs and had them review it to make sure all was in order and correct.
Why did I intentionally choose to do that? Well, for one reason, it made my life easier because I knew I had the correct information. I knew it would help the client have TRUST in me from the beginning because I was showing them that I understood their needs. I wanted my new clients to have PEACE OF MIND, and I did it because that is what I would want a pet sitter to do for me if the tables were turned. The whole "DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO UNTO YOU" principal. I also believed it was a way to make my business run more smoothly and in the end, my life and the life of my client would be positively affected. Peace of Mind for all.
If I knew a client had an ill pet, I would send an e-mail or make a quick call to see how they were doing. It helped the client know that I cared, and it gave me peace of mind knowing how one of my furry or feathery friends was doing. Doing this connected us as humans for the benefit of the pet. GOODWILL ALL AROUND.
I would try to make it a point to call a client a few weeks after they experienced the death of a pet to see how they were doing, and I'd always send a condolence card. SHARING SYMPATHY CONNECTS PEOPLE and shows you care. I wanted my business to be CARING.
As I stated in another post, I'd acknowledge the holidays when actively pet sitting for a client on major holidays. It was too cost-prohibitive to give a little something to all of my clients (other than sending Christmas cards), but I would do something special for the pets that I would be actively visiting on these holidays. The acknowledgment might be a little Easter basket or a small Christmas stocking filled with treats delivered by "Santa Paws". GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND is important for a lifestyle business owner because he/she receives a strong feeling of PERSONAL SATISFACTION in addition to pleasing or "wow-ing" the client.
As I grew my pet sitting business, I intentionally chose to do these little things, and more - like sending Christmas cards with pet-related poetry inserted and producing creative newsletters - things that I knew would bring a SMILE TO MY CLIENTS' HEARTS.
A lifestyle pet sitting business is one where GOOD FEELINGS INCREASE between both parties because the pet sitting client knows the sitter really cares and the pet sitter knows they have clients who share a similar vision of pet care. It is a SOUL THING.
FLEXIBILITY is also a key ingredient in a lifestyle pet sitting business. Things can change on a daily basis with any aspect of the business so if you know going into this that every day will be somewhat different than the day before and that surprises happen (good and bad) then there is less tension and changes are seen as par for the course.
Having a lifestyle pet sitting business that was strongly attuned to the lifestyle I wanted to lead brought me much satisfaction. As my business evolved and I became more confident in the direction I wanted it to take, I found that I took more time with my clients without creating undue stress. For the most part, I would say that my business was WARM AND FUZZY, WELCOMING, and had lots of TLC.
I also chose to not grow my business beyond a certain number of clients. That way it was more manageable all around. This is not to say that it couldn't have been as fantastic if it were bigger, but again, I was looking at how I wanted to live my life, and bigger for me, wasn't necessarily better.
You will see that the words I bolded in this blog are not tangibles. They are interior experiences that help to make everyone involved in a pet sitting relationship have their needs met. Creating and running my business the way I did was truly an intentional decision of how I wanted to live my life.
I hope these words are helpful to you. If you want to share your thoughts or ask questions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your thoughts might help me decide if I need to write a Part 3 or not!