My #1 Business Secret

topsecretHi all! Today is Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t really care so much about the game part, but I am excited about the party. I always love a good party. 🙂

I was brainstorming my next topic that I was going to write for you, when it occurred to me that you probably have no idea who I am or why it is you should even listen to me. So, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you my back story on how I ended up here talking to you wonderful folks.

When I went to college at The Ohio State University in 1995, I truly had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had received a scholarship for filed hockey, so besides playing my sport and having a blast in the process, I had no true direction or career aspirations. Looking back, I regret wasting the amazing opportunity that was given to me to envelop myself in my education. Don’t get me wrong. I had a great time, but I wish I had the where with all to focus on the things that truly mattered, which was my future career. When I enrolled at OSU I declared Special Education as my major. I had worked at a home called St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children all through high school, so I figured this is what I was supposed to do. The curriculum was a breeze. I barely had to study, which left plenty of time for partying and hanging with my friends. I will say that I do have a gift of being able to care for and help special needs children. The tricky part was that I did love it, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t my calling.

After graduation I accepted a position teaching 7 years old children with Down Syndrome. They were the cutest, most wonderful jewels on the planet. I loved each and every one of those kids, but I felt completely drained both physically and emotionally. I can’t even describe to you the exhaustion that I felt at the completion of each work day. It wore on me and it wore on me fast! The summer going into my second year of teaching I was expressing my disappointment in my career choice to my mother. She suggested that I start my own business. I initially laughed it off. I mean, what on earth would I do? She asked me what it was that I love to do most? I answered in jest, I wouldn’t mind playing with dogs all day. Well, that one little statement was like a lightening bolt that struck my life,which in turn has never been the same since. During my second year of teaching I did nothing but plan for the the opening of my very own pet sitting business. I gave my notice to our principle about mid-way through the year, giving her plenty of time to fill the position for the following year. Then in June of 2001, on the last day of school, I opened the doors to Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line.

For the next 5 years it would be me, myself and I, all alone. I did everything for the business. Every single pet sitting visit, dog walk and overnight stay. I answered the phone. I did the accounting. I did the emails. I had created nothing more than another J.O.B for myself and my boss was my clients. I thought that the entire point of going into business for myself was to have the freedom to do the things that I loved. Ummmm… not!!! I never slept in my own bed, because I was always staying at one of my client’s houses. I did the 6am morning visits, the afternoon dog walks, the dinner visits and the 10pm evening visits. I was absolutely exhausted and very unhappy. On top of the rigorous schedule that I had created for myself, my clients took unbelievable advantage of me. I had no policies or procedures in place and I never wanted to be rude, so I just let them take advantage. Uh! Looking back, I want to grab that 24 year old girl, shake her and tell her to toughen up and to get with it! But this is what learning is all about, right? We all need to have our struggles to show us what we really want.

So after 5 years of running myself straight into the ground, I decided to either get serious about the business and expand or go back to teaching. I chose option A…expansion!!!! The problem was I had not a clue on how to achieve this. There was no real solid business eduction out there that I knew of. In truth, I had NO IDEA on where or how to start. Then, like a miracle, a person came into my life by almost miraculous fate. I attended the NAPPS pet sitting conference that year and a woman named Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction spoke. Well, I just dove into her teachings. I read every email, every newsletter, I purchased every product, I attended every event and I eventually joined her Platinum Mastermind Program. You see, I found a mentor. I found someone to teach me what I didn’t know, which was everything. Through Fabs I also found other great teachers that I started to follow and learn from as well. I kind of became a product junkie. I ready every book, took every course, attended every event and purchased every program that I could get my hands on. I had a thirst for business knowledge. I loved learning, then applying what I learned to Pet Nanny and then seeing how my business just kept growing and growing and growing.

Me with my Coaches, Fabienne and Derek Fredrickson

Me with my Coaches, Fabienne and Derek Fredrickson

I hope it’s okay with you, but I am going to share some numbers. I realize that some people can be off-put by this, but I just want to show you the surprising results that I experienced as a result of applying all the great nuggets of wisdom and information from my mentor and all the many programs that I had invested in. This is what happened to my business…

In 2005 I had earned a gross revenue of $47,282.32. In 2006 after applying all that I had learned, I earned a gross revenue of  $95,992.50. That is a 103% increase!!!! Since then my business has grown by exponential numbers each and every year, even in the down economy.  How do I do it? I keep learning. I still purchase programs and attend seminars and apply what I learn to my business. I will never reach a pet sitting business nirvana, where I will say “that’s good enough.” No way!!! I believe the sky is the limit for Pet Nanny. I truly mean that. Those of us that are in the pet sitting industry have chosen an excellent field. Our clients are obsessed with their pet’s and we provide them with the solution on how to provide loving care for them when they can’t be at home. We will never, ever have a shortage of clients. This I can promise you.

It is now 2014. Pet Nanny has 1000+ clients, a staff of 32 pet sitters and a full-time office administrator. I have created a mobile application, Pet Watchman for the betterment of my business by adding additional value to our clients. It can also be used as a tool for other pet sitting businesses. I am generating a high 6-figure revenue. I get to spend my time doing what I love. This includes working on my business, playing paddle or tennis every day, entertaining our friends and family, vacationing at our beach house, playing with my kids and attending all of their school events. This is what my definition of success is. FREEDOM! I make enough income where I can enjoy my life. I will be honest, it feels good.

To sum up, in the 13 years that I have been in business I have learned tons of things, but the most important thing and the #1 secret that I have to finding success within your own pet sitting business is to find a mentor. Find someone that you connect with, and that you respect and want to emulate. This is the shortcut to success. You saw my numbers. I had 103% growth in the year that I started working with my mentor. The numbers don’t lie. That is rock solid evidence to the power of a mentor.

So, this is my story and I’m sticking to it. I hope you found this article helpful. I’m interested in hearing your stories. Please leave me a comment below. I want to hear about your dreams, your struggles and your obstacles. I want to help! I mean that.

There is a saying that I love, “when the student is ready, the Mentor will appear.” If you are ready to take the next step in your business I am here to take it with you. I know it can be scary to take that step, so if you’re interested in scheduling a FREE call with me you can do so, by clicking this link. We can chat about your business and how I can help you reach your business goals. You can also shoot me an email to colleen@petnannycoach.com.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Find yourself a mentor.

I believe in you,

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10 Basic Steps for Starting a Pet Sitting Business

Goforit The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will. –Vince Lombardi

Like launching any type of business, starting a pet sitting business takes a lot of planning, organization and commitment. Here are the basics to help get you started.

1.     Get clear on your vision

  • Do you want to start a pet sitting service? This would mean providing multiple visits per day for customers who need pet service while they are traveling or unable to be home with their pet.
  • Do you want to start a dog walking business? This would mean providing mid day dog walks for customers who work long hours.
  • Do you want to open a dog walking and pet sitting service?
  • Do you want to provide house sitting services?
  • Do you want to offer pet boarding or open a dog day care?
  • Which other dog services or cat services will you provide?
  • Will you offer pet transportation?
  • Will you offer pet grooming such as nail trimming or dog baths?
  • Do you wan to sell pet grooming products or pet grooming supplies?
  • Do you want to be a small business or a large business?
  • Do you want to do the actual pet sitting and dog walking or do you want outsource those duties and focus on managing the business?
  • Do you want to hire employees or use independent contractors?This is a topic for another article, but let me VERY clear, you must put a lot of thought into this decision and set your business up correctly.
  • Will you invest in professional pet sitting software or will you use a manual system (something which I highly advise against.)
  • Will you join the associations? Pet Sitters International and/or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters?
  • Will you protect yourself with pet sitter insurance?
  • Will you be a sole proprietorship, an LLC or a Corporation? Pet Nanny started as a sole proprietorship, but we later became an LLC. This is a decision that you would want to discuss with your attorney and accountant.

There are so many things to consider when deciding to start your own pet service. It important to be clear on the type of business you want and to set yourself up for success from the very start!

2.     Take action!

This seems so simple, but you would be surprised how many people I have spoken with over the years who have had fabulous ideas for starting their own businesses and then did absolutely nothing. (Ahem. Did you read my 1st post? I am guilty of this as well.) Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. My business coach calls it “a full contact sport.” You must have self-discipline, the ability to take action and the persistence to see an idea through to the end. Without action you will not see results or achieve your goals. So, if you decide that you want to start a dog walking service, then sit down and map it out! Remember as Martin Luther King said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” The first step is putting pen to paper then taking action!

3.     Choose a smart name for your business

  • First make sure that there is no other business in your service area that is using your name idea.
  • Do a trademark search on the name United States Patent and Trademark Website.
  • Search domain names on http://www.godaddy.com to see if it’s available. You want a url that’s easy for others to remember. If the url is available buy it immediately!!!!
  • Register you fictitious name or “Doing Business As” DBA Name. A fictitious name is different from your personal name. So for example, I’m Colleen Sedgwick “doing business as” Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of the Main Line.
  • Tips:
    • Choose a name that actually conveys what you do.
    • Don’t involve a committee when making the final decision. Too may cooks in the kitchen will result in nothing but a vanilla type name. Only involve key players and make sure that those people represent a variety of types.
    • Choose a name that is memorable and easy to spell.

4.     Write a tagline: a short, memorable phrase that associated with your service.

5.     Have a professional logo designed

  • If you want to own a professional company, you need a professional logo that will stand the test of time.
  • You can find designers at fabulous rates on www.elance.com, www.guru.com and www.odesk.com

6.     Have professional business cards printed

  • You will need business cards for your customers as well as to give to referral partners and promote your business.
  • www.vistaprint.com is a great site where you can design and have you business cards printed.
  • Remember to use a professional logo.

7.     Have a professional website designed in WordPress

  • WordPress is great for search engine optimization and it also gives you the ability to make updates to your own site without having to rely on someone else.
  • Again, you can find designers who will design a professional site for you on www.elance.com, www.guru.com and www.odesk.com.

8.     Join Pet Sitters International & National Association for Professional Pet Sitters

These are the two big pet sitting associations. They both provide great member benefits, but most important is that you will be listed on their Pet Sitter Finders. Many client prospects will first go to their sites and then type in their zip code to find pet sitters in their area. While you are building your web site ranking, this is going to be a great way to have clients find you.

9.     Register your business on Google Places, Yelp and Yahoo

Have you met Siri? Siri is a voice recognition app.  She’ll write your emails, check the weather and update your calendar. She’ll also locate businesses and services for your potential customers. Siri will forever change the way traditional web searches happen. When someone asks Siri to “find a local pet sitter,” the answer will be based on your current location, not on whether you are at the top of Google. You need to optimize your listings on Google Places, Yelp and Yahoo.

10. Get Pet Sitter Insurance!!!

Do yourself a favor and get yourself a liability insurance policy. The rates are extremely reasonable and it absolutely worth the peace of mind that you will receive. You never know what could happen and it’s best to be prepared. If you join PSI or NAPPS they offer member discounts. Woohoo! I use Business Insurers of The Carolinas and I have used them from the start, but there are many different companies to choose from.

Now, go get started! I believe in you.

This may all be very overwhelming. I understand. I used to be in your shoes. If you need help with getting your business off the ground and creating a biz boosting action plan then email me at colleen@petnannycoach.com or you can simply schedule a FREE get acquainted call by clicking this link. I would love to help you design and bring to fruition the pet care business of your dreams.

Happy Tails,

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Today is the Day! The Day I Answer the Call.

Hi there! My name is Colleen Sedgwick. I am the owner of http://www.petnannymainline.com, a booming pet care business located on The Main Line of Philadelphia. In short, I am a wife to Billy Sedgwick. Mother to Lucy, James and Connor. Paddle and tennis fanatic. Wine enthusiast. Pet lover. Business owner. Workout fan and someone that LOVES to have a good time.

Today is the day. I have FINALLY decided to take decisive action and listen to this little voice in the back of my head and in the back of my heart that has been telling me to help others reach success with their own pet sitting businesses.

Now, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I have done some extraordinary work in the pet sitting business space. (Ugh! That sounds so arrogant, but it’s true. I promise.) I have built a high, 6 figure-business. I have attained 1000+ clients. I have managed a staff of 30+ pet sitters, I have designed and launched a mobile app and I have done all this while being the mother to 3 small children and 2 dogs while still enjoying all of the things that I love to do… playing paddle or tennis every single day, working out, spending time at our shore house and hanging with the people that I love most. I love my life and I love my business and I want to share how I did all this with those that want that too. I want to be of service! I want to share my expertise, business lessons and knowledge. I want to help!

That little voice that I mentioned has been speaking to me for quite some time, but I kept making excuses as to why I wasn’t going to take action. I continued to tell myself all the same things that we all tell our selves… I don’t have enough time, I’m too tired, I’m too busy with my business, nobody would want to learn from me, what do I have to offer? You know what I’m talking about, all those self-sabotaging thoughts that we all have. Today is the day that I have decided to get out of my own way. I have finally realized and believe wholeheartedly that I have mountains of information and knowledge to share and to teach. So, today is the day. Today is the day that I start my new journey… helping other pet sitting business owners achieve financial and career success with their own pet sitting businesses.

Here’s my plan. We’re going to start simple. I am going to post a high value article each and every week. This is my promise to you. I am putting it out there to the universe and to my readers on DAY 1. I want to create an expectation and live up to that expectation, so you know you can count on me and prove that I am a woman of my word.

I do have a request. Could you help me with this and send me over some topics that you wish for me to write on? I would greatly appreciate it. I already have a list of topics compiled, but hearing directly from those that need and crave the information will prove to be so valuable for me and would help all of us.

Today is the day. DAY #1 on this new and exciting business adventure.

With love and eagerness,

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