Who are you, Amanda Krom?!

Hi all, Amanda here.  To continue on my “getting to know you” blog series I am going to write a little blurb about my past and what lead me to this point.  I am in a really great place with Amanda’s Paw Pals but starting a dog walking and pet sitting business was not where I started.

I started out at Brandford Hall.  I loved school and was at the head of my class.  I graduated with a certificate in Computer Repair and Networking, and was A+ Certified with the state of Connecticut shortly after.  I hit the ground running and I applied at every job I qualified for (and a few I did not!)  Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready for my awesomeness and amazing skills and so I didn’t get a job in the Computer field.  I was pretty sad and desperate.

My friend Brenda owns a pet sitting company, Getaway Friends, LLC. in Essex.  She called and asked me to cover vacation time for her sitters while I continued to look for a job.  The LAST  thing I wanted to do was walk dogs in the heat of the summer, but I needed a job.  Money spends the same in the heat as it does in the cold and I like to spend money 🙂 So…walking dogs won.  I reluctantly went to her house to pick up keys and for me to shadow her on a few jobs.

Our first job was the most adorable tan cocker spaniel I had ever seen.  His name was Aspen and he was so sweet.  Aspen went out and walked around in the yard, sniffing and scratching.  He did his business, Brenda brought him in and gave him a treat, and we were on our way.  That was so easy and fun!  Maybe this pet sitting thing wouldn’t be too bad.  We went and did a few more jobs that day and the next.   Brenda proclaimed that I was trained and gave me my own assignments.  I am pretty sure she went and checked on me after I finished my first few solo jobs but that was okay.  I was really loving the job and did my best to be perfect at it.  There were days when I wasn’t sure what I got myself into (like the day the UPS driver ripped down the dog’s run when he was backing out of the driveway and didn’t notice…I got there to a dog that was tied to a wire on the ground!  Or the times the dog had pooped in the house because she was anxious about being home alone…) but most days I felt like I had fallen asleep and woken up in my best life ever.

That was in 2002.  I was an Independent Contractor for Brenda and another local pet sitting company, Executive Pet Sitting. for a little less than a year before deciding to start my own company.  Brenda and Joan ( Executive Pet Sitting) were very instrumental in helping me to successfully get going.  I joined a few different pet sitting groups and got insured and bonded.  Things have not always been perfect and I have not always been able to work at only Amanda’s Paw Pals; but it is my company and I love it.  If I had to do it again, I would.  HAPPILY.

 

Amanda’s Paw Pals is Pet First Aid Certified

Hi everyone, Amanda here.  Last week I said I was going to start a series of “get to know you” blofirst aidg posts.  I mentioned that the first one would be on the fact that a good pet sitter is Pet First Aid certified.  Amanda’s Paw Pals is…I am, Brian is, even the office manager, Mary, is.  Being Pet First Aid certified is
only one of the ways we stay above the competition.  We are also members of several pet sitting groups and organizations, but that is another blog post.:)

Back to Pet First Aid.  Why is it necessary?  The easy answer is, so we know what to look for when we are caring for your precious pets.  There are so many things that can go unnoticed…your dog or cat seems to be drinking more water than usual, maybe there is a slight limp when we are walking.  Being trained gives Amanda’s Paw Pals an edge because we are automatically watching for just those types of things.  It is scary to think about accidents happening to your pets but it should put your mind at ease to know that they are in the best hands possible with Amanda’s Paw Pals.

Pet first aid trains us in burns, cuts, punctures, and bites.  We know when to wrap a wound and when to put pressure on it. If Fido starts choking, we are educated in handling that as well.  We can administer CPR if needed.  We all have a Pet First Aid app on our smartphones and an emergency kit in our vehicles.  Most importantly, we know when to head to the vets (hint…almost always!).  I guess the most important thing is that we know to stay calm in the case of an emergency.  Having the knowledge learned in our First Aid class gives us the confidence to take any and every situation with a deep breath and a cool head.

Taking a class is just one of many steps needed.  We also subscribe to the American Animal Hospital Association (http://www.aaha.org) and Vetstreet (http://www.vetstreet.com) newsletters.  We try and stay current with any changes that come across and any helpful hints from other experts.  All in all, we do our best to be the most qualified person you could leave your precious fur-family with!

Presenting…Amanda’s Paw Pals!

Hi all, Amanda here.  I recently did an interview with Ray Anderson, The Dog Walker.  He has been rudogwalker podcastnning a podcast called, “How to start and operate a dog walking and pet sitting business” and it is located at The Dog Walker Podcast.  This podcast is designed to help people who are trying to decide to get into this field, or who have already made the leap (like me) and just want to stay fresh and current.    As a side note, Ray also owns his own pet sitting business, Christine’s Pets, out of Virginia.  What that means for me is that he has insider knowledge of what it means to be a pet sitter; he understands why I carry an empty water jug and pee pee pads in my trunk, for example.  What that means for you is that he understands what customers want to know.  When he interviews other professionals, he doesn’t ask them pointless questions just to take up space in the interview.  I mean, truthfully.  Who cares what season I like to pet sit in or what my favorite thing is about pet sitting?  (I would hope you, my readers would care!  But that isn’t the point).  What a person listening to the podcast wants to know is how I handle difficult situations and how I work every day in every weather situation without flinching.  The people listening to this podcast are individuals who are trying to figure out a path in their careers and in their lives, and customers (future and current) of the guest speakers.  If they are going to take 20 minutes out of their time to listen (and I hope they do because it is fantastic!!!) it has to be worth that time.  Ray Anderson definitely delivers.

So back to the podcast.  Ray called me via Skype to do the interview.  We had to record it twice, there was a snafu with the first recording, and that was a surprising difficulty.  You see, The second copy was exactly like the first.  The same questions were posed to me.  I should just
give the same responses, right?  Except I didn’t always do that.  I know, weird.  Turns out that I felt like I was having a conversation with someone I had already talked to and I didn’t want to repeat myself!  I don’t know how he does it, or for that matter how anyone does this!  I am most thankful for the fact that it wasn’t on live. My answers in the first go were BRILLIANT usually.  Ray had emailed me the questions ahead of time and I actually went through and wrote out my responses.  A little extra work but then I knew I would sound precise and professional instead of stammering a lot of umms and uhhs.  I knew Ray would have edited as much of the stalling and lost air out but I didn’t want it to be there in the first place.  After a few questions, I was able to snap out of it and just give the polished answers that I had worked on previously.   I still fretted over it for the few weeks before the podcast was released, but it was fine.  I should not have had any doubts!

The whole experience got me thinking that maybe my customers would like to know more about me and about Amanda’s Paw Pals in general.  So this pod
cast
(which I hope you take the 20 min. to listen to, it is really good!) is a stepping stone into a series on Amanda’s Paw Pals and what we can do for you.  Next week, we will explore what being Pet First Aide certified means and why I make sure it is on the top of my list (and should be on the top of your list when you are looking to hire a professional to care for your pets!)

And just for the record, I love the Spring for pet sitting best because it isn’t cold but it isn’t so hot that I am not enjoying the outside.  The animals are all returning from their winter hideouts and are preparing for summer.  The birds are singing and the air is sweet.  I don’t have allergies so the pollen is not a problem at all.  And my favorite thing about pet sitting is when I come into a house and get rushed by a dog who hasn’t seen me in YEARS (or maybe it has been minutes, time is relevant!) and they just want to love me.  Who doesn’t love that?!

Be on the lookout for next week’s post and please send me a comment or write on my Facebook page if there is a question you have been wondering about.  I am answering questions that I think people might wonder but you, dear readers, can give me real questions.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Talk to you soon!

Awkward…Right?!

 

Hey there, Happy Friday!  Amanda here 🙂  I recently had a few different meet and greets and realized that I am SO awkward when I talk on the phone!  I don’t know why that is for sure.   Do you ever feel that way when you hang up the phone or talk to a person?

I am brilliant at pet sitting and dog walking.  I am well educated in the field and I have so many different ideas and skills when it comes to keeping my current and future customers happy.  I am very informational and lovely in email and text conversations.  I am fabulous in face-to-face meets.  But get me on the phone, and I become a different person entirely!  I struggle to find words to say.  I stumble through my thoughts and I can’t remember the basic information (such as prices of visits) that I can prattle off in my sleep!  I sound incompetent and inept even though I am far from it.  Easy questions seem to catch me off guard and cause me to hesitate in the flow of the conversation.  Why?  WHY?!

I know how important a knowledgeable person is to speak to on the phone.  I know that first impressions are the most important (right or wrong!).  I have absolutely been on the phone with someone who didn’t seem to have a clue and felt like maybe I picked the wrong company to handle my needs.  So having a phone conversation with someone where I may or may not seem to know what the heck I am talking about is pretty huge.  Or as Donald Trump would say, “HHUUUGGEEE!!!”   This is definitely something that I need help with.  I can’t go on stumbling through life awkwardly and I don’t want to lose out on meeting some amazing clients (two and four legged!) because I didn’t make the right first impression.

One of my advisors told me to make a list of questions a person may ask me on the phone and answer it on paper.  Not so I can be reading off a script when a person calls; but writing down some questions and answering them when I have time to calmly reflect on my responses will go a long way in settling my nerves about the phone.  I believe it is a strength to talk to a live person who has answers in this world instead of the automated systems that have invaded our telephones, so this is a must for Amanda’s Paw Pals.  She also told me I needed to elaborate a little in my responses after a quick Q & A session we had where she pretended to be an interested pet owner looking to see if Amanda’s Paw Pals would be a good fit.  It was very helpful to do that with her but we struggled to come up with questions.  Here, dear readers, is where you come in.  Can anyone think of questions they would ask me about Amanda’s Paw Pals when they first reached out to me? We covered the basic questions, what are your rates?  What is the amount of time you spend on a visit?  Are you insured and bonded?  I know there are more questions out there! I am going to collect a list and answer them in a thoughtful and informational manner like my friend advised.  Once I have done that, I will remember my thoughts when the question is posed to me again and I will be able to respond with ease and confidence.  It seems like a lot of trouble to go through but nothing easy is worth having, am I right?!

So please, leave me a question or two in the comment section.  Let’s see if you can come up with questions that will be thought provoking for Amanda’s Paw Pals.  I know you have them…this is the perfect chance to get them out!