Friday, August 21, 2009

The 3-legged stool: guest post by Molly Gordon

Molly Gordon joins us again this week to continue the conversation about how pet sitters can build their businesses. Molly is offering a self-employment telesummit here. It is coming up September 10-22.

How to build wealth in a small niche business like this that is limited by geography.

My first thought is that there is no such thing as a business limited by geography. And that’s a conversation for another day.

A reliable way to build wealth in any business is to use what I call the Three Legged Stool approach.

The first leg of the stool is delivering service to individuals, i.e., pet sitting.

The second leg of the stool is delivering service to groups. This could look like pet day care or pet parties.

The third leg of the stool is delivering expertise without being physically present. This could look like an e-course, say, The Five Keys to Keeping Your Pet Happy While You’re on Vacation.

Notice, each leg of the stool is about delivering value, not necessarily about selling value. That’s because any one of the legs can contribute to your bottom line by being sold or by being given away.

A simple example of how a give-away can help your bottom line is an e-course. When you offer a free e-course, you train people to open and value your email messages. This builds trust as well as awareness of your products and services, making it more and more likely that the person who signs up for your course will hire you in the future.

These three legs work together to create remarkable synergy. As you deliver services to individuals, you become aware of common needs that suggest opportunities to deliver services to groups. The problems your clients encounter as pet owners can suggest topics for articles, e-courses, and e-books. The more these three legs inform each other, the richer your understanding of your clients’ needs becomes. In time, you become the go-to person for all manner of pet concerns.

Let’s look at how the three legs of the stool work together to generate more wealth than any one or two of them can alone

In addition to working together to suggest new ways to package and deliver your work, the three legs can work in a very special way to build long term relationships with your just-right clients. The secret to maximizing the trust effect is sequencing.


Sequencing is simply providing products and services in a specific order that makes it comfortable for someone to move from being a stranger to a just-right client.

The early parts of the sequence need to be super low risk. After all, a stranger has no reason to trust you and lots of reasons to be wary. Some extreme low-risk ways to connect with a new prospect include a web site, a brochure or flier, and business cards.

The key to having such low, low risk items work for you is to link them to the next element in the sequence. This could be a clear invitation to sign up for the free e-course used in the earlier example.

Your e-course, in turn, needs to lead seamlessly and without pressure or hype to the next step in the sequence. This could be an invitation to live event where the prospective client gets to meet you. Your live event could be fee-based, though I’m thinking something free and fun might be more appropriate. For example, you could sponsor a high school club’s Dog Wash by paying for their fliers and, perhaps, a banner. At the Dog Wash you can hand out brochures and be available to answer pet-sitting questions. People get a chance to meet you, to support local kids, and to get clean dogs.

Stay in touch with the people who signed up for your e-course with occasional news and tips. (I’m thinking monthly.) This keeps your work in front of the prospective client on a regular basis so that, when they need a pet sitter, they think of you naturally.

Using the three legs in a sequence that goes from least risk to greater commitment is not only a great way to build momentum for your business, it’s fun!

1 comment:

Terry Albert said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Molly. I think some of us get into pet sitting without realize we have to be business owners, marketers, promoters and teachers as well. Pet sitting is such a personal relationship business, and it takes some work to break the stranger-barrier and build a relationship with our clients.