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I got this email and picture today from Mary O. who purchased my book Six-Figure Pet Sitting a couple of months ago.

Here’s what she writes:

“I had my book on my bed and my cat Chelsea decided she liked it too! Must be a good sign.”

🙂

Thanks, Chelsea, for the two paws up!

And for you humans out there: You can purchase Six-Figure Pet Sitting in printed book format on Amazon or in you can purchase in eBook format for immediate download.

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I don’t know what the heck is going on lately but in the past few weeks I have received a massive amount of calls and emails from frustrated and despondent pet sitters who are ready to throw in the towel after getting a bad review of their business.

I get it.

No, really I do.

I’m not just saying that.

I, too, had the experience a few weeks ago. One of our one-time pet sitting clients wrote a horrible review about my company.

It was a client that had used my pet sitting company 6 months ago.

Here’s an inside peek into my brain after I saw that review:

Six months ago?
And you never called me to tell me you were unhappy?
Instead you write a horrible, scathing online review about us for all the world to see?
Six months later?! What the ???!

(Went the very negative chatter in my head.)

I paced around my office for a few minutes, scowling and muttering under my breath and then yelling AGGGGHHHHHHHHHH a few times. (My poor neighbors.)

What I got in touch with when I stopped pacing and yelling was that this experience was disheartening.

I got in touch with how I try to run the best possible pet sitting business and when I’m not running my business, my dear managers are doing their best to run the best possible pet sitting business.

And in spite of that:

We got a bad review.

It was disheartening.

Still, it was easier to calm down than it might have been say, a few years ago, because guess what?

In my nearly 17 years of owning a pet sitting business, my business has gotten our share (a small share, thankfully) of negative reviews.

It happens.

Sorry guys, you can’t work with the public for years and years and years without getting a negative review.

It’s true.

Here’s the truth: You are going to make someone out there unhappy. You are, at some point, going to have a client who has expectations that aren’t going to be met by you or your company.

It happens.

Here are the actions I took to make peace with myself and the client who wrote the bad review:

1. I allowed myself to fully feel the spectrum of feelings that came up around this review. These included (but were not limited to): anger, sadness and (owie) grief over this review. It hurts. The word ‘grief’ may sound extreme but getting a bad review brings up the perceived loss of reputation which is a type of death for a business owner. Allowing myself to feel the yuck feelings fully then allowed me to move into action with all of my energy present.

2. I called the pet sitter who had taken care of this client and I asked her for her side of the story: What actually had happened with this client? I had the client’s point of view (from the review that was posted for all the world to see, gosh darn it) but what happened from her perspective? When we spoke, I could hear the honesty in her voice and was able to determine that she really hadn’t done anything wrong. The client hadn’t given clear instructions about the pet’s needs.

3. Next I thought carefully about what I wanted to say to the client. I got crystal clear in my head and on paper about what needed to be said so I could refer back to my notes if need be. I waited until I was in a relative place of equanimity (it took a few hours) before contacting the client.

4. Next, I called the client. You read that right. I didn’t email him. I called. On the phone (it’s an old-fashioned tool that some of us still use for communication). And if you are like most people and the thought of actually talking to a client who wrote a negative review about you terrifies you, here’s a word of advice when dealing with a negative review or feedback from a client: never, ever email the client a response.

Is it much harder to call than email? Oh my God yes. It takes a heck of a lot of courage. That’s where you want to put on your big girl panties or big boy briefs and JUST DO IT. You are not going to die or pass out from the anger or fear. You may feel like you are. But trust me, you won’t die. Or pass out.

5. When I got the client’s voicemail I left a calm, loving (yes, loving) message that went something like this:

Hi John. (Deep, relaxed breath) I saw your review and I just wanted to contact you as soon as possible so we could talk about it. I feel awful that you had a bad experience with my company. As the owner, I’m 100% committed to you having a good experience with my company and it was such a shock to see that you weren’t happy with the pet sitting you received from us. I realize that we sat for you about six months ago and perhaps you tried to contact me but somehow I never got the message. (Deep relaxed breath.) I want you to know that I want to do whatever I can to make this right. Can you please tell me what I can do to make things right? Please give me a call at ______. I’m in the office today. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

6. When he didn’t respond by phone that day or the next then I emailed him. Here’s what my email said:

Dear John,

I left you a phone message and I’m just contacting you to see if you got it. Forgive me if I’m bugging you. I want you to know that my intention in contacting you is to make things right. What can I do to make things right? I’m committed to you having a good experience with us and it hurts my heart to know that you weren’t happy with the care we provided. Please give me a call or send me an email so I can take care of this as soon as possible. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Kristin

7. Keep your email and your phone message authentic and loving. Did I have second thoughts about using the word ‘it hurts my heart’? You betcha. But I did it anyway because it was hurting my heart (owie). And I felt like I had nothing to lose by sharing that and perhaps everything to gain by sharing that.

Here’s how my story ended:

I got an email from John (not a call, an email. I guess he wasn’t wearing his big boy briefs that day).

Here’s what his email response was:

Hi,
I did get your phone and email message. Things have been busy today. I do still think that your pet sitter didn’t do things right but I will take the review off. Please don’t contact me again.
John

So here are the Cliff Notes if you get a bad review:

1. Feel the full spectrum of feelings. Get it it up and out of your body (yelling, talking and/or crying with a friend) so you can then be free to take action.

2. Contact the staff member who provided care to get more information. If you were the person who cared for the client, think clearly back to that day and if what the client said happened, happened.

3. Think carefully about what to say to the client.

4. Call the client. Don’t email. Call. On the old-fashioned instrument called a telephone.

5. Leave a calm and loving message or talk directly to the client in a loving, calm manner. Include the words “How can I make this right?”

6. If the client doesn’t respond in a day or two, email them a loving, calm email. Include the words “How can I make this right?”

7. Breathe. A lot. Know that you are a good person and a good pet sitter and realize that sometimes bad things (and reviews) happen to good pet sitters. Soon this review will be a distant memory. It’s not the end of the world. Your right clients will find you, bad review or not. Trust me!

© All Rights Reserved by Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™

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This morning I’m reflecting on the power of commitment as it relates to business. And the ‘magic’ that gets created as a result of my coaching clients’ setting crystal clear intentions for what they want to create in their business and their life.

I often have the pleasure of witnessing ‘manifesting magic’ happen easily and effortlessly in my coaching clients’ lives and I know that it has everything to do with their commitment level. Commitment combined with their heartfelt desire to create the most fulfilling, enjoyable, and profitable business and life.

Here are just a few of the ‘manifesting magic’ moments I’ve witnessed lately in my coaching sessions with pet sitters:

-I gave an action step to the coaching client who wanted to start a doggie day care. The action step was to look for a possible location for the doggie day care. She hadn’t yet looked at locations but was having lunch with a friend two days after our session and mentioned her desire to start a doggie day care when that friend said, “I know just the place! It’s not on the market yet but the man who is selling it said -out of the blue- that it would be perfect for a doggie day care.” They looked at the property after lunch and my coaching client is now exploring the possibility of buying that property.

-A pet sitter I was working with stated to me, clearly and with much heartfelt emotion, her desire to work part-time while growing her new pet sitting business. She had a full-time job that she greatly disliked and was beginning (literally and figuratively) to feel her soul being sucked out her by this job that she’d been in for years. She was afraid to let go of her full-time job due to the income and benefits (I’ve worked with this a lot: pet sitters that are straddling corporate America and pet sitting and who are wanting to make the leap to full time pet sitting yet are terrified to let go of the job security for full-time self employment). Out of the blue (though I like to think of it more like ‘out of the commitment’) she was chatting with a woman who mentioned that there was a job opening in her company. Within a little over a week, my coaching client had a job offer from this company! She’s still working out the details but thinks it will be a much better fit (less soul-sucking for sure) as she makes the transition to eventual full-time pet sitting).

-A pet sitter I’ve worked with on and off through the years contacted me to help her get clarity about how best to create an orderly and accurate financial system for her income and expenses. We discussed different financial accounting systems and one in particular that I thought she’d find easy to use in her business. Still, she expressed fear around not knowing how to work with this particular system and we both felt she needed hands-on help. She placed an ad on Craigslist (commitment in action) and though that didn’t result in the right person, within a couple of days after our session, she, (out of the blue!) was talking to a pet sitting client who mentioned that she worked with the same financial software system that we’d discussed in our coaching session. This woman said she could teach my client how to use this system in order to get her ready for tax time. My pet sitting coaching client feels extremely comfortable with this person and it feels like the perfect fit for her!

Commitment creates success on purpose. It creates ‘out of the blue’ events and experiences. It creates magic.

And that magic starts with the simple words, “I want…”

“I want” is the rudder that faces your boat in the right direction to achieve what it is that you want.

And then intention, commitment, and action lead to the results you most want in your business and your life.

Allow yourself to dream this week of what you want to create in your life and in your work. And if you are crystal clear about what that is, notice your commitment level and take actions that support being fully committed to what it is you most want to create in your life and your pet sitting and dog walking business.

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Want to learn to sell yourself/your service to your clients without sounding the like a pushy car sales(wom)an?

Because who wants pushy?

Certainly not your clients…

Yuck!

On Tuesday’s teleclass you will learn how to turn 90-100% of those new client calls into ACTUAL clients.
Which will more than make up for the cost of Tuesday’s call.

🙂

Here’s more info:

Getting to Yes: Sales Success Tips for Pet Sitters Teleclass

Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Time: 5:00pm PST / 8:00pm EST

How does class take place? Via a conference call line. Call-in instructions will be given upon signup.

How long is this teleclass? 60-75 minutes (30 minutes will be for Q & A from the audience)

How much: $20 (register by Feb 18) $30 (register on Feb 19 or later)

Class description: It can often be challenging to ‘sell’ our pet sitting service to our clients.

Many pet sitters provide a great service but when they try to talk about why a client should use their company they often get tongue-tied. Or they don’t talk about the value of their pet sitting company with a potential client at all. Instead they simply quote rates and attempt to set up a client interview. These actions may land you the job. Maybe.

But taking ‘maybe’ actions isn’t a powerful way to do business. Don’t you want to close the deal most, if not all, of the time?

There are specific steps you can take to becoming a master at selling your service to clients. Believe it or not, selling can be easy, fun and natural when you know how to do it.

This teleclass will show you how to become an empowered seller of your pet sitting business.

Need more information? Click to find out more and to sign up for the Getting to YES: Sales Success Tips for Pet Sitters teleclass.

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A short snippet of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) conference.

What a joy it was to meet (in person!) a few of you dear coaching clients.
🙂

I will be at next year’s conference and hope to see ALL of you there!

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6470778473_58a6e95dff_m-1Hello wonderful pet sitters and dog walkers,

I’m offering you a FREE goal setting workbook that I created for myself a few years ago (link below).

I’ve personally used this workbook year after year to set and achieve my own business/life goals.

My desire to take my long sabbatical arose after doing the exercises in this workbook in 2009! If you have read my book you will recognize this workbook as the one I detail in my chapter on goal setting.

I hope you will find it as valuable a tool as I have in setting goals for business and life.

On another note: I’ve got some fantastic new 2012 teleclasses that I think you old timers and newbies will benefit greatly from and also a new coaching modality that I’ll be unveiling soon for new and existing coaching clients who want to step powerfully into the New Year to create a life and a business beyond their wildest dreams!

Details to come in a few weeks….

Happy New Year!
Kristin

PS-Here’s the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business Goal Setting Workbook.

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Just got the first VIDEO review of my book Six-Figure Pet Sitting and I wanted to share it with you!

Here it is:

And for those of you who haven’t yet read my book…

Six-Figure Pet Sitting is available in eBook format: Six-Figure Pet Sitting.

And it’s also available in printed format on Amazon: Six-Figure Pet Sitting book.

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I’m so excited.

I’m leading a special teleclass just for the Georgia Network of Professional Petsitters (GNPP) on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm EST.

I love, love, love the GNPP.

In the past few years, I’ve coached many GNPP members.

My experience of the GNPP through the one-on-one pet sitting business coaching for pet sitters that I have done has been that the pet sitters who are a part of this wonderful organization are committed to harmonious collaboration via their supportive network of pet sitters.

It’s such a beautiful thing…

And it’s a rare thing, this harmonious collaboration and referral network of pet sitters.

But it doesn’t have to be!

Here’s the dirt about pet sitters: owning a business can sometimes bring up people’s (ahem) territorial natures and lead to people being transported to a dog-eat-dog world or becoming catty with one another on a business level.

Sorry for the pet metaphors but they are appropriate here, don’t you think? I’m sure you’ve experienced this on some level yourself.

I’ve experienced it in the form of other pet sitting business owners taking down my pet sitting business cards and flyers from bulletin boards and placing their own where mine used to be and oh-my! The feelings that has brought up for me are not pretty.

No sirrie.

I’ve witnessed the effects of that territorial behavior through other pet sitters that I’ve coached: “I can’t believe she put her cards where mine used to be!” “I can’t believe he told a client that I was not a good pet sitter.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We don’t have to become territorial and pee to mark our spot.

Oh Lord. Did I really just use the word ‘pee’ in a blog post?

Yep. I really did. That’s a first (and maybe a last).

We don’t have to become jerks to other pet sitters to sell our service. We don’t have to put other pet sitters down or take down their advertising material.

The Georgia Network of Professional Pet Sitters proves that harmony amongst pet sitters does exist. And I’m sure there are other networks out there that prove that also. Let me know if you are a part of a great pet sitting networking group–I’d love to offer your pet sitting network a special teleclass as a thank you for contributing to pet sitting peace!

Here’s the thing: there are enough pets to go around.

Really.

There are.

Think about how many plumbers there are. Or gardeners. Or housecleaners.

Most people have toilets (thank God). And gardens. And places to sleep at night (also thank God).

And a lot of people need people to help them with those things.

And most people have pets. So there is enough work to go around, folks.

Here’s the thing: clients are going to like YOU.

Your unique energy.

And even if your business is big like mine and you don’t do the actual work of pet sitting anymore, they are going to like the energy of your business.

That energy gets conveyed through your logo, your website, and other marketing materials so take time to create materials that reflect you and the feeling-tone that you want your business to convey. Your energy comes through loud and clear by your message that’s on your business voicemail or the smile or frown you wear when you are answering the phone. It comes through in your helpful (or not) nature when clients call to book service.

And if clients don’t like your energy or the energy that your business conveys?

They are not your right clients.

Your clients will be drawn to YOU and your business. And your competitors clients will be drawn to them.

It’s simple really.

And for those of you who live in Georgia- I encourage you to check out the Georgia Network of Professional Petsitters. And for those of you who are already members: ‘see’ you on Thursday’s call.

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Ouch!

Experiencing ‘pain points’ in our pet sitting business doesn’t feel good.

And yet…

It is often the only way that we will wake up

and pay attention.

Pain points can look like:

-a staff member who really needed to be let go a long time ago yet you’ve been putting it off

-a client who is a royal pain in the arse and you’ve been putting up with them for far too long

-not making enough money to make ends meet, let alone thrive in your business

etc, etc, etc.

So you can either put up with it (which most humans end up doing)

or be proactive and change things.

(Usually this happens when the pain outweighs the numbness of putting up with the pain point in your business.)

Sometimes this takes a while.

And things break down before you wake up in order to make things better.

I encourage you today to heed the call of pain in your business.

It’s there to teach you what isn’t working in order to create a more smooth-running, profitable business

…and a happier life.

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Freedom!

Freedom!


Hello pet sitters,

I will be speaking at the Association for Pet Sitter Excellence (APSE) Conference on October 25 at 1pm EST. It’s a virtual conference, accessible by the Internet.
🙂

The topic I will speak on will be about how to “Consciously Create More Freedom in Your Pet Sitting Business”.

It’s a topic I’m passionate about!

Many business owners think freedom and owning a business cannot exist together.

But guess what?

They are wrong!

I’ve created a pet sitting business that also gives me a lot of freedom and I look forward to sharing how you can put freedom in your pet sitting business (and in your life).

“See” you at the conference!

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