(Closed) NEED ADVICE on Self-Employment and Start-ups

posted 8 years ago in Career
Post # 3
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would start by talking to your local chamber of commerce.  They usually have great resources for people wanting to start their own business.  I would also look at talking to existing dog walking/pet sitting businesses.  Find out if you could realistically make a living on this.  I would also look at maybe volunteering at one on the weekends and start to ask some questions about whats involved.  Some things that are required for almost every business start up:

1)license from the city you live in (fees vary from place to place)

2)advertising expenses (otherwise you have a business with no clients)


In addition you may need some sort of health inspection or vaccinations since you would be working with animals.  Your insurance will also probably be fairly high since you are working with animals that could bite.  

You mentioned you could be moving- keep in mind to that this isn’t an internet business that will get up and go with you.  If you get a business license, etc where you live and advertise now, you will have to do it all over in the new town when you move.  

Do you have any money saved to cover start up expenses?  Realistically, If you figure you could make at max _____ dollars/month if you had as many clients as you could handle, you can safely assume you’ll make a fraction of that your first few months as you get your name out there.  So do you have the resources to pay your bills while you work through this start up period?

With this type of business, I’ve known several people who have grown into it.  In particular a cake baker, a dog trainer, and a home decorator.  They found a day job that had reasonable hours, and then started doing their dream job on the side- a job or two each weekend, maybe once in a while in the evening.  Later on they moved onto a part time day job and more hours at their “dream” job.  Eventually they were able to move to creating a legitimate business with their dream job.

Post # 4
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I would network, network, network! I would totally hire a dogwalker/dog sitter, but it would have to be someone we trusted 100%. With this in mind, it’s usually not someone on a flier but someone that was referred to us by someone else we trust. It’s like a human babysitter; you wouldn’t just pick a random person from the Yellow Pages!

Consider reaching out to local animal rescues (they usually have extensive networks of both current and potential pet parents) and offering complimentary or discounted services just to get your name out there. If you have a pet yourself, you can go down to your local dog park and mingle. The key is not to sell yourself directly like a used car salesman but rather, strike up conversations and wait for an opportunate time to fit in “Oh, I do some dog sitting/walking on the side, if you’re interested!” when they’ve expressed the need for someone with these services.If you have access to a smaller veterinary practice, perhaps they would be willing to recommend you to their clients.

I would also think about niche markets, like birds or small animals. For example, we don’t just have dogs but birds and fish. It would be great to find someone who’s willing to change our birds’ food and water (they’re friendly birds, of course).

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