Today we are introducing you to Lisa, the small business owner of Your Pets Best Friend which makes sure that your pets are looked after and happy when you’re out of town.
Lisa is an animal lover at heart and she decided to turn this passion into a business. She ensures her clients pets are looked after, relaxed and happy if their owners need to pop out of town for a few days.
Your Pets Best Friend was based in Hume VIC and had grown steadily to a point where Lisa realised that she needed to employ staff during the busy seasons. During 2020 she relocated to Newcastle, NSW. Lisa is now embarking on a journey to set up her business for the second time. She reflects that this time she has some insight into what it takes to be successful in business. She has been working with Many Rivers business coaches in Hume and Newcastle to keep her business dreams alive even as she relocated.
“One of the most important things Richard helped me with was to encourage me to think about how there are a lot of different pets sitting businesses and what sets me apart.”
Read more about Lisa’s business journey and her experience relocating her small business.
My business is Your Pets Best Friend and it has been operating for about 6 years. I look after people’s pets when they go away, I do dog walking and I can also give pets their medicine such as insulin if they need it.
Before starting my own business I was working in the disability sector and I was at uni studying veterinary nursing. I’d already started working on my business. It was a hobby for the first couple of years. It was a few jobs here and there on the side. I got in contact with Many Rivers about 2 years ago to make this a fulltime job for myself.
Richard, my Many Rivers business coach in Hume VIC, was working with my partner at the time on their business and I thought I could benefit from his support too.
I wanted the flexibility and to be my own boss. It was mainly the flexibility and to be able to pick and choose my hours and to work as much or as little as I wanted to. I could run the business the way that I wanted it to run because it was something that I enjoyed as a hobby before.
Working with Many Rivers
Richard helped me turn my hobby into a business. It wasn’t that I wasn’t serious about it before, but I didn’t have a business plan or a structure. I just knew that I loved animals and I loved working with them. With Richard, I worked out my cashflow, objectives, who my clients were and where to find them. This included marketing, and rebranding.
The accountability was helpful too. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to achieve and put me on a time frame so that I kept moving.
I did not have much understanding about business insurance either. That is a factor that helps me stand out with my clients. When I tell them I am fully insured they are surprised because it’s not something they often consider in my industry.
One of the most important things Richard helped me with was to encourage me to think about how there are a lot of different pets sitting businesses and what sets me apart. Also thinking about the types of clients that I wanted, where to find them and how to target that kind of audience.
New Beginnings For Your Pet Best Friend
I was at the point where I was considering hiring someone for the following Christmas because that is my busiest period. I had decided that I would need someone else on board the following year. But then I moved to NSW in June 2020.
I have continued the business in NSW. It was quite challenging to re-establish myself and not having the network that I had in Melbourne. I have gone back into work in the disability sector to get income. That has also become a barrier too with my work hours restricting my ability to continue with my business. I have met once with Tania, the Many Rivers business coach in Newcastle NSW, and I want to work with her to grow my business again.
Working for someone else again has made me realise why I don’t like working for other people and reminded me why I decided to go into business in the first place. It has given me the drive to catch up with Tania again and really make it work in Newcastle.
While I already know a lot about my industry and being a small business owner, I think I am going to have to go through and redo my business plan. There is more competition in Newcastle so I am looking at what other services I can provide that other places don’t offer so that I can differentiate myself.
The move has been the biggest challenge for sure. In Melbourne I had around 80 clients on my books. A lot of those were regular clients too. Going back to having no clients was a bit disheartening.
The feedback from clients is always so rewarding. When they have had other pet sitters, they can be a bit nervous about getting someone new in. It is so great to hear their feedback that their animals are really relaxed and happy after I look after them for a few weeks. I guess that’s what I really base my success off.
Biggest Lifestyle Change Since Becoming A Small Business Owner
My business is seasonal so I have had to learn to budget for that. For example, I will be so busy during the Christmas period and then it will be very quiet for a few months after that. Managing the financial side of things is a bit tricky. Also, if I get sick and I am midway through a booking and the owners are away for weeks, I can’t just not go and look after their pets.
Future Goals for Your Pets Best Friend
Setting up the NSW client base and getting it to a point where it is a full-time job for myself. That is definitely my biggest goal at the moment. This time around I have some more insight and I have everything ready to go. I think I will have to redo the business plan because the client base up here is a bit different. There are a lot more pet sitters around where I live. So I will need to look at other ways to differentiate myself and possibly adding additional services such as dog grooming or dog washing.
Thanks Lisa for sharing your story with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your future business goals. Keep updated with her business journey with Your Pets Best Friend on Facebook and Instagram.
Are you ready to take the first steps towards making your business idea a reality? Our Many Rivers business coaches will be with you every step of the road, not matter where your journey takes you.