Don’t cry, I am still here! Haha, Amanda here. I am wrapping up my “all about me” series with a personal note. I have been wracking my brain trying to think about what else a person would want to know about me and my fantastic business, Amanda’s Paw Pals. My office manager (and very best friend) Mary said I should tell you all about how I feel about running Amanda’s Paw Pals as my main source of income.
Not everyone knows this, but up until last August I was what I would call a “hobbyist Pet Sitter.” I put my heart and soul into my business, but only part time. I worked full time at Young Horizons daycare center and also went to school online to get an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Ed. and a Bachelors Degree in Library and Media Science. Turns out I liked going to school better than actually working in the field, but no education is wasted. I also have a certificate in Grooming, a certificate in Computer Networking and Repair, and I am A+ Certified in the state of Connecticut! I am a full-fledged career hopper 🙂
I loved everything I have tried and everywhere I have worked. But not enough to see myself doing it forever. The one thing I can see doing forever is being a pet sitter. Too bad I didn’t come to that thought sooner, Sally Mae lives in the guest bedroom upstairs and won’t leave until my student loans are paid LOL!
But seriously, being a professional pet sitter is like a dream come true for me. I get to see so many smiling faces every day that it is nearly impossible for me to get down. What is a better antidepressant than a cat rubbing against your legs or a dog bringing you their favorite toy to play with?!
There is more to being a pet sitter than just playing with animals all day. I also have to keep up to date on all the different ways animals behave. I am always listening to podcasts and webinars about my craft. There are no formal licenses needed to be a professional pet sitter, but someone who doesn’t hold insurance, bonding and some other credentials doesn’t have to be the only choice anymore. Most of the professionals I know are just like me, keeping current on the changing world of pets.
Also, my favorite part besides the actual work, is marketing. A serious professional is marketing themselves any way they can. Staying visible in the community (helping with drives, volunteering, working at festivals, whatever is needed in your area!), hanging flyers in all the local bulletin boards, and posting on social media are just a few ways to market. I have also found that handing out business cards to strangers is helpful…but I am not really good at that part. I usually don’t want to intrude if you are just taking a nice walk with your dog or something! I always have cards on me, though; feel free to ask for one!
As far as having this be my only income, being self-employed is a double edged sword a lot of the time. You have the freedom to “be your own boss” and “make your own hours”, but also have the fear of not paying your rent or cell phone bill when business is slow. It is scary sometimes but I am fortunate. I live with my Mom so I never worry about being evicted. Verizon Wireless is not as sweet and lovely when I am late on my bills, but thankfully I make enough to have that covered 🙂 The pet care business has ups and downs, not unlike most businesses, and I plan accordingly. You will not find me crazy because I overbooked myself out of fear of the long winter. That being said, I always say you should book your pet sitter as early as possible so they will be able to guarantee you placement. I made a budget of sorts when I first started out that gives me a “poverty line” and a “maximum visits” line. The poverty line is more for my own peace of mind. When things are not going well, I add up my visits for the week. As long as I am above the poverty line (and I usually am) I don’t worry. The maximum visits line is to keep my current customers happy and satisfied. Once I reach that line, I no longer take vacations or new clients. I still have several spots left per day but they are reserved for my current rock star clients who want to go out to dinner straight from work or who find themselves with last minute plans. I can’t always say yes, but once you are a current client you have a really good chance. This also serves another purpose for me. I can live off of the money I will make between both of these lines. Therefore, I never make myself crazy or overloaded with visits because I know exactly what I can handle. Burnout is an unfortunate side effect of self employment and I am hoping to have found the way around that. Also, overloaded people tend to cut corners to get through. I will not cut corners or shorten visits! You will always get what you paid for with Amanda’s Paw Pals. I feel like I am running for office haha 🙂
I am one of many professional pet sitters in my area but I would like to think I stand out. When you see me in line at the grocery store, feel free to ask me about Amanda’s Paw Pals. I always have a company shirt on and talking about my job is my favorite thing to do. You won’t be sorry if you call me, either. I may not answer (I try to only answer when I can give you my full attention so leave a message and I will call you back when I can do that…within 24 hours.) I return phone calls after 6 pm usually, sometimes after 2 pm if you call early enough in the morning. The other way to reach me is by Facebook or my website.
So there you have it. A blurb about me, Amanda Krom. I hope you reach out and contact me. You won’t be sorry and your fur-family will love you forever!