Sunday, May 10, 2009

Network with other pet sitters to build your business


Last fall, I joined a group called the PetNet, a network of San Diego pet sitters who get together for parties and ... well.. bitch sessions! I walked in the door, didn't know a soul, and had 30 instant friends. There's nothing like a good debriefing with people who understand what you deal with on a daily basis. We share horror stories, funny incidents, and tips to make each others' lives easier.  I never laughed so much.

We also have a discussion list on the Internet. Yes we are in competition with each other, but we also refer clients to each other, too. San Diego county is a huge area, and we often get calls from potential clients who are out of our individual service areas. It's great to be able to refer them to a "known" business, and the callers appreciate it too. Other areas have their own pet sitting networks, for example, in Georgia. Do a search on the internet, or start your own local group.

I am also on a national discussion forum: Professional Pet Sitters United, a yahoo group. Go to http://groups.yahoo.com and search under "finance." Because I also board dogs in my home, I joined a national dog daycare list. You'll find it in the pets category on yahoo groups. If you are a member of PSI, there is a PSI  member forum linked from the web site. You can check messages on the web, get individual messages or in a digest format to your email address. 

These Internet groups are a great way to learn about pet sitting if you are thinking of starting a business. Ask lots of questions and learn from the experience of others. They are eager to help. Complain, grieve, confess and entertain; you are among friends! Learn about business practices, software, pet behavior, and client relations. If your client moves away, you may find a new pet sitter for them from the list.

Social networking also connects you with other pet sitters. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the top three to get you started. Come visit and be my friend! 

Photo above: Desi (dachshund), Stussey (husky mix), McKenzie (westie) and Katie (German Shorthair) romp in my back yard.

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