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 sitting 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:
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.SixFigurePetSittingAcademy.com