STEP ONE: Choose a business name that you LOVE.
Naming a business is as important as naming your kid. Maybe even more important! Why? Because your kid can change his name fairly easily if she/he decides to at some point but trying to change a business name down the road is a very challenging process for both your existing clients and for you.  (I changed my business name after a year so I’m speaking from experience here.)

Pick a name that you like saying and that rolls off your tongue easily. When you get successful and your phone is ringing with client calls you’ll be saying it many times a day so choose carefully.

I also recommend that you pick a name that you really can see yourself using ten or twenty years down the road.

Don’t call your business “Bakerville Pet Sitting” if you have even an inkling of a desire to perhaps expand to surrounding areas down the road.  You’ll be stuck in Bakerville! If you are really clear you want to stay in a specific area then do include your area in your business name.  It’s actually very professional to put the city or town you live in as part of your business name.

Do describe your service in your business name. I don’t recommend pet care—it’s too vague. But pet sitting and dog walking are great to add: Bakerville Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Service. Some may find it’s a little long but, in my opinion better too long than not descriptive enough. This way clients will know exactly what you do.

Make sure you spend some time searching to make sure your business name is not in use already in your county or nearby counties. You don’t want to accidentally ‘take’ another local pet sitting company’s business name.  Check your local phone book and do Internet searches for the name you are interested in.

If you have found that no one in your county is using the name that you want to use then it may be yours to use in your area IF it does not have a federal trademark. You can do a name search to see if the business name has a trademark by going to the  U.S. Patent and Trademark website.

If the name you are interested in does not have a trademark but is used by another business  then you’ll want to contact your local city hall to see what the laws are around name usage.

If you have a list of names and are confused about which one to choose email the list to 5 friends who have good taste (you know who they are!) Have them rate their 1st , 2nd, and 3rd choices. See which ones are first choices and from there you will get clarity.

Once you have named your business you can go on to How to Start a Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business: Step #2 which I will write about in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!

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Yesterday I had a coaching client call me to ask if I could do an emergency pet sitting business coaching session with her. 593834863_3080791c5d_m

Due to my  jam-packed coaching and work schedule I’m usually not able to fit coaching clients in the moment they call for an appointment but it just so happened that I had a 45-minute open window of time. We were coordinating when to set up her emergency session and I could hear the frustration and burnout in her voice so I said, “Would you like to do the session right now?”

“YES!” The relief in her voice was palpable.

Offering that kind of relief to pet sitters who are in business crisis (or just low-grade burnout) is so rewarding to me. I just love it. Having owned my own pet sitting company since 1995 I understand the frustrations that can come from owning this unusual type of business. Being in that place of despair and frustration (excuse the expression) sucks.

Anyway, we started her session and basically she was wanting to know exactly what it took for me to get from ‘there’ (frustration, burnout, working a ton but not making a ton of money) to ‘here’ (ease and joy in my worklife, working 3-4 days a week, making a lot of money without doing doing a lot of work, etc.).

I walked her through the various changes that I had made in my business and what exactly I do differently now that I didn’t do then. We talked about the nuts and bolts of running a business: from spreadsheets to marketing to time management.

Then we hit on the most important business tool of all: Self-worth.

Discovering that place that is deep within ourselves that really knows that we deserve to make a lot of money without a lot of stress and strife.

Out of that awareness comes the self-worth to raise client prices, market the heck out of our county and have the phone ringing off the hook and to not take difficult and super-challenging clients simply because they are paying us green stuff.

Have I been at the place of low self-worth? You betcha. And yes, it sucks. And it absolutely affected the way I ran (or didn’t run) my business. And it absolutely affected my profits.

How did I get to the place of high self-worth? Well, it has come from the various little and big changes I made in my business life. Some of them include:

  • Having the willingness to say no to clients no matter the amount of money they were willing to pay because I knew that, should I take them on, they’d suck my energy dry.
  • Raising my pet sitting prices even when I was scared.
  • Realizing that I don’t want to work 40+ hours a week and having it be okay that I work much less than most of the American population!
  • Allowing myself to have the desire to make a lot of money and not to be ashamed that I wanted to make a lot of money. (That one took a long time to break free from and sometimes I still struggle with the okay-ness of wanting to be wealthy.)

Self-worth often came when I had the courage to run my life and my business in a way that was congruent with those inner parts of me that desire a really great life–one with meaning, purpose, ease and profit. Managing my life and business in a way that isn’t always congruent with the way society says I should manage my life or my business. As I stay true to my own inner course in business and my life, my profits have continued to rise, rise, rise. And yours can too.

Today I encourage you to: notice the areas where you are saying ‘yes’ when really you want to say ‘no’. Notice when you are charging a client too little and feeling resentful for the amount of time a particular pet sitting/dog walking job is taking you. Are you feeling totally stressed out in the area of time and/or money? If so, what you can do to give yourself a little breathing room today?

Noticing is a first step to changing behavior.  And if the current way you run your business is not working for you, begin the process of changing the way you run your business. Making those changes will increase your self-worth which will, in turn, increase your profit.

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Yes. Yes. Yes! If you’ve got a supportive management team and great pet sitters and walkers on staff you can take time off to see the world.

And that’s just what I am going to be doing in January 2010.

When my business was 3-5 years old I traveled each year for 2 months. I would do lots of pet sitting for 10 months and then have my manager oversee everything for the two months that I’d be gone from the business and out of the country.

I went on a lot of great trips. I traveled for two months in Europe. Two months in Bali. Two months in Thailand. (Thai villagers dressed me up in Thai gown and crown and I led a parade of villagers down the street but that’s for another blog post!)

I have been desiring to travel again. What has held me back is that my business is now MUCH larger than it was 10-12 years ago! We have 35 staff members. Our huge client list continues to grow with the new calls we get daily.

I have been mulling over traveling for an extended period of time for awhile now and was noticing that fear was holding me back. I try to live my life in such a way that I normally don’t let fear run my life. I’ve coached many of you business owners on how to make peace with your fears and really live in a way that is fulfilling and meaningful both in business and in life. And yet here I was finding myself wanting to travel and letting the thoughts of fear stop me from committing to something that I really want to do.

My fear thoughts went something like this:  Will everything be okay while I’m gone? What if something happens while I’m away? What if……? (fill in the blank.)

Well, last week I decided to look the fear straight in the eye and smile at it and say, “I’m going.”

So I took the first step and asked my main business manager if she could manage the business while I was away. She said that she would love to.

And now I’m compiling an ultra long list of many tasks that need to be completed before I depart in 5 months. I’m also exploring: where do I want to go? I’m still mulling it over. Bali is definitely calling to me. I might start there and end up some place totally different.

I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime I’d love to hear about you: what are some unrealized dreams that you have that you are afraid of fulfilling? Is there a way your business could support you in making those visions a reality? Email me privately or post your comment below if you like.

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Are you ready to learn new ways of using LinkedIn to generate more business and gain more clients?

The LinkedIn: How to Grow your Pet Sitting Business and Generate New Clients Through LinkedIn teleclass is Tuesday, August 25 at 5:00pm PST / 8:00pm EST.

There’s still time to sign up and get the $20 rate discount if you sign up by August 18. After that the price goes up to $30 so sign up today to take advantage of the special $10 discount for early registration.

Find out more and sign up now by visiting the LinkedIn: How to Use this Powerful Site to Generate New Clients teleclass page. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you at this exciting teleclass!

Join Kristin Morrison from the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™ as she interviews Therese Kopiwoda. Therese has the knowledge and experience to teach you how to use social media to get your business noticed by potential clients and customers. She has used LinkedIn and other social media tools to turn her online business, PetsitUSA, into a nationally recognized source for pet sitters and pet owners alike.

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2892058635_da341cba5f_mIf you are a new pet sitter here’s the easiest way to determine your pet sitting and dog walking rates:

1) Create a spreadsheet with at least 10 different competitors on the far left.

2) On the columns to the right have each service plus time limits plus extra pet fee. Find your competitors’ rates sheets and enter their totals there.

3) If you can’t find ten competitors in your area then look in the next immediate town until you have ten different pet sitters listed in or near your town.

4) Figure out the medium range by looking at the range of prices for each service from your ten competitors.

I usually recommend that new pet sitters have their rates be in the middle-range of your competitors when you are first starting out.

Here’s how to determine the average middle: Let’s say you create your competitor pricing spreadsheet and you find the range is $12-$20 per 30- minute pet sitting visit. You’ll want to start out with a rate $16 per visit.

Once you develop a stellar reputation as a pet sitter you can (and should) raise your middle-range rates.

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The Power of a Post It Note

by Kristin Morrison on July 31, 2009

in Goal Setting


In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale’s graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%.

Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 — and found that the 3% with specific, written goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined.

Do you have specific, written goals for your business?

If not, it is time to start.

One of the simplest ways to start setting goals is to write this month’s money goal on a Post It note and stick it on your computer where you see it every day (and usually you’ll see it multiple times a day if you are a frequent computer user).

I wrote my money goal on a Post It note on July 1.  Next to the amount that I wanted to earn for the month July, I wrote that I ‘easily and effortlessly achieve my goal’. And guess what? Money has easily and effortlessly come to me this month–I am almost to my target profit goal.

The power of the Post It note is that it creates an intention of what is wanting to be created. Creating a clear intention often inspires direct actions to take. THAT’S where the power ultimately is. Taking action in a way that will increase your business success. Sometimes we need a yellow sticky note to prompt us to do that.

Tomorrow is August 1, the perfect time to start experiencing your own Post It note success. What will your money goal be for August?

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Marketing: Are clients finding you everywhere?

by Kristin Morrison on July 29, 2009

in Goal Setting

bb114s1946I spoke with Felicia Lembesis, the executive director for National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) on Monday.  We were discussing pet sitters and marketing and how it seems that many pet sitters have a fear or extreme dislike of marketing. Because a lot of pet sitters dislike it or fear it they end up not doing much of it and ‘hope for success’ instead of actively creating their business success.

In my own pet sitting business I ask clients how they heard about us and will often hear new clients say, “I see your company everywhere.”

How do I get EVERYWHERE?

Here is just some of what I do to get my business “everywhere”:
~ My website is search engine optimized (SEO) so I show up on the first or second line of most of the search engines. (Need help with this? I can do a complete SEO session with you.)
~ I drop off my attention-grabbing business cards on a consistent basis (every 1-2 months) to groomers, vets and pet stores.
~ I advertise in different pet publications that pet owners read.
~ I have signs on my car.
~ I look for advertising opportunities wherever–my feelers are open for possibilities to spread the word about my pet sitting company.
~ I have my website information on the bottom of my personal email so that friends are reminded (or alerted to) the fact that I own a pet sitting company.

Begin promoting your pet sitting business in a way that clients will soon be saying, “I see you EVERYWHERE!”

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I’m noticing that I’m excited about this new blog and being able to communicate with all of you pet sitters on a regular basis and yet I’m also really excited and lit up about the book that I’ve been writing for pet sitters.

So…though the thought of  blogging every day sounds so fun and is tugging at me a bit, I’m finding that I really want and need to use my extra time to work on (and finish) my book.

Writing this book really has been a labor of love. I started it a few months ago when I hurt my back and was bedridden for a couple of days. One day I found myself writing for 10 hours straight! Now I usually write for 1-2 hours every couple of days and will stop when I find my attention wandering or I realize that I don’t want to be writing anymore.

I’m trying to really honor my natural rhythm of writing and not force myself to keep writing if I don’t want to.

I’m keeping the title hush-hush for now but in a few weeks I’ll be announcing it and telling you more about it. Stay tuned.

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blogimageWhile I’m still working on my ability to upload pictures and make this blog ‘pretty’ I’d like to know what business topics that you would like to read about here.

Feel free to post your topic ideas and preferences or email them directly to me and I’ll create blog posts from your suggestions.

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Post image for Hello Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

Horray! My blog is finally up and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to post every few days as my way to communicate with you in between our coaching sessions, teleclasses and my newsletter. I’m still trying to figure out how to put pictures up but other than that blogging is easy. You should try it.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a blog I really recommend it for these reasons:

1) You’ll get higher on the search engines like Google, MSN, Yahoo and the new Bing if you have a blog.

2) It’s so much fun. Try it. You’ll like it.

PS-I finally figured out how to put pictures in. 🙂

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