August 2009

Self-Worth = NET WORTH

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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Can Pet Sitting Business Owners Leave their Businesses and Travel for 2 Months?


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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Pet Sitters: Grow your Pet Sitting Business through LinkedIn!


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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New Pet Sitters: How to Determine Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Rates

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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