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Unread 3rd Oct 2016, 12:14 PM   #1
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What 19 Months of Picking Up Dog Crap Can Teach You About Being An Entrepreneur
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Are you an entrepreneur, business owner or do you run a website?


If so, I can only assume that you are always looking for ways to get more money into your pocket.


The problem is almost all of the methods and techniques out there require that you do some writing.


It doesn’t matter if it’s content marketing, email, Craigslist, or Facebook ads. You need to come up with something worth reading. Even Youtube videos and Podcasts need to be planned and scripted “on paper” first.


We all know writing sucks. There is a good reason most of us haven’t written anything significant since college. First, you have to come up with topics and do research. Then, you have to try to not sound like a boring idiot or a liar.
The whole process is a slog. You have better things to do.


You know that your business still needs ads to get new leads. You know your website still needs top-notch content that grabs readers and makes you look like an expert.


That’s why I want you to hire me. My name is Jake. I'm a copywriter and content writer.



If you’re in need of a copywriter, here is what I want you to do. I want you read the article I posted down below. While you are reading, I want you to imagine if your content or emails have the same level of quality. What could that do for your business?


You can send me a PM or email me. I can be reached at jacobotrainor@gmail.com


Please do not hesitate contacting me. I can only work with a few projects at a time before I am completely booked.
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What 19 Months of Picking Up Dog Crap Can Teach You About Being An Entrepreneur

There are tons of people who haven’t pulled the trigger on launching a business. They might have a complete road map of what they are going to do “someday”, or they just know they need to escape the job and then endlessly look for information on how to do that.

Either way I’m sure there are plenty of people in here that fit that description. You’re staring at the starting line, but have yet to step into the race.

For those people, the following advice is for you.

My fiancée started her dog sitting and pet care business in February 2015.

These last 19 or so months have been an adventure. There has been a lot of pee and poop. There has also been a few bites, bruises and torn up furniture. Through it all, she has built up a decent side business that matches the income she makes at her day job.

After months of watching her build this business and helping out along the way, I found some things that can be applied to many other side gigs and business. For anyone that hasn’t started out, here is an idea of things to expect and the speed bumps that can come up in your own journey.

1. Friends and Family Are Going To Laugh At You.


We were sitting in a coffee shop with my aunt and grandmother. My fiancée, Dani, told them that she recently started a dog sitting business. My aunt spit out her coffee laughing and shouted “that’s so stupid”.

Plenty of other people in our lives also had similar things to say. Her dad told her “that’s not a business, that’s not a real job.”

Know this, if your plan to make money isn’t a typical job, everyone will think you’re crazy or stupid. The masses still hold on to the idea that in order to make money you have to give 8 to 12 hours of each day to someone else.
They will give you some half memorized stat about how many businesses fail each year. They will tell you about the economy, how there is a huge franchise in the same niche that you can’t possibly compete with. This is why you might not want to tell everyone your ideas until you actual have something to show.

2. When You Are Successful, Everyone Is Going To Want A Piece.


Even when you do have something tangible that is making money, you still may not want to tell everyone.

The same people who crapped on you will soon be looking for a hand out when they see the money coming in. In Dani’s case, friends and family didn’t ask for money, but they did have their remarks. It seemed like people expected Dani to pay for things completely unrelated to her.

Everyone will see how many customers you have and think you’re rolling in it. When looking at someone’s business, no one takes into account the overhead. In Dani’s case, she was paying for gas, mileage of her car, insurance, dog food, chew toys, cleaning products, leashes, poop bags, and an accountant to help with taxes. On top of that she had to give a percentage to sites she was getting leads from.

In any business, there are many little expenses that may seem like nothing, but can quickly snowball in one large sum.

Most people will not see that. They will just do mental math of “Oh my god you’re getting paid $35 per dog and have 25 regular customers and do x amount a week and blah, blah, blah, blah. You’re rolling in it. Watching dogs is so easy! You’re so lucky”

Bottom line, there are delusional people that think because you have money you’re a jerk if you don’t give it away.

3. Your Business Doesn’t Need To Be Some Crazy New Idea.


When coming up with what you want to do for a business or side gig, you may think you need to come up with a revolutionary idea. You may think you have to come up with the next Angry Birds or the next big Kickstarter project.

There is nothing wrong with using your imagination to come up with new ideas; some ideas you have may be very good too. The one problem is that new ideas have to be tested. That means getting funded, getting legal advice, writing articles and sales letters selling people on the project, running advertisements, as well as finding manufacturers and distributors. For certain projects, you may spend years trying to get it off the ground.

If you think you can be a millionaire by creating a dating site targeted towards only gay farmers, go for it. The only way to tell if an idea is bad or not is to test it. Just know there is tons of money to be made starting a plain old everyday service.

Launching the latest app might seem like a dream come true, but there are millions upon millions of people that need services like lawn care, garbage removal, maid services, house painting, home daycare, handyman repairs, graffiti removal, power washing, snow removal, antique refurbishment, event coordinating, personal and online assistants, wedding planning and many more.

Does starting a service business seem boring? Well, does paying the bill seem boring? With an everyday service you could throw up a facebook page, write up a handful of ads and potentially get paying customers tomorrow. With a “big idea” type business, you will spend quite a bit of time, energy, and money before you see your first return. Also, there is nothing saying you can’t start something like a power washing service in order to pay the bills and finance your dream business.

Dani’s first idea for a service business wasn’t dog sitting and pet care. She made the common mistake of thinking that because there were other dog walkers and sitters in the area, there wouldn’t be room for her.

We both enjoy going on day hikes and we would often see other people on the path with their dogs. She thought she could start charging people for taking their dogs on day hike. It wasn’t the worst idea, most dogs only get walked around the block once or twice a day. That really isn’t enough exercise, especially for high energy breeds.

She was going to call it “Suffolk Trail Dogs”. The logo was a mountain with a dogs head and trails running through.

The problem was there were many questions and “what if’s” in Dani’s mind. Would I be able to walk five dogs on a trail at a time? What if it rains? How much is fair to charge? What will I do in the winter when it gets too cold? Can I work a Monday to Friday job and then have the energy for Saturday and Sunday hikes? Will picking up and dropping off the dogs become a problem? There were just too many variables and there weren’t any other businesses to get examples from.

She fought me on it in the beginning, but I got her to realize that her business doesn’t need to be unique and complicated. I came up with a very simple name of “Dani’s Pet Care” and got her a logo. I think I paid ten dollars to someone on fiverr to create a logo of a smiling dog and cat.

4. You Do Not Always Need A Website. You Just Need To Ask For The Sale.


Does this sound familiar?

You have a great idea for a business so first thing you think is that you need a website. If you don’t have a website people are going to think you’re an amateur, right? Great, so you spend a week looking for WordPress designers, coming up with the perfect layout and getting the best price you can. Do you want a bland, boring looking website? Of course not! So you have to find graphic designers and content writers.

So your site is up and running and it’s time to get to work. Hold on, you realize your site isn’t ranking in Google. How are you going to get any customers if they can’t find you in the search engines? So you read countless articles and guides about SEO. While you’re reading all those SEO blogs, you come on to an article about how to rank YouTube videos for competitive terms.

So now you need to start making videos. Why the hell would anyone read any of your website content when other companies are using video? So you need to go out and buy a good camera and a decent microphone. You have to learn how to edit videos and about different software.

After all that, you still haven’t set up a Facebook page. Everyone is on Facebook. Everyone also has a twitter account, so you might as well make one of those too. While we are talking about social media don’t forget about Instagram. It’s the hot new thing and you’ll be leaving money on the table if you don’t start taking all the pictures that you can.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Most people don’t realize it, but they are terrified about asking for money.

When they start working on their business or side gig, they waste unnecessary amount of time on things they think they need. In their minds, they justify this wasted time by thinking these tasks are moving their business forward.

Dani wanted a website from the start. We hired a self-proclaimed WordPress expert. The site he made looked great and Dani absolutely loved it. A couple months later one of her customers told her the site was down. It was.
When we tried contacting our WordPress guy, it seemed like he disappeared off the internet. His own website was completely gone and he wasn’t responding to any of our e-mails. On top of that, we found out the pictures and content of the site he made were taken right off another pet sitters website in the same area as us.

19 months into pet sitting and Dani still doesn’t have an active website. Her business presence is a Facebook page, business cards, and a Rover.com account. I did create dozens of local business citation pages. Dani also created a twitter account and an Instagram. None of those things ever brought about additional customers for her though and that’s what matters.

The biggest source of new business for Dani was a website called Rover.com. Rover connects dog and cat owners with sitters and walkers. It’s a great system for both parties. For Dani, she didn’t need to fuss around with SEO or paid advertising to get the ball rolling on her business. There was a website were ideal customers were already looking to find people like Dani.

There are marketplaces and website in many niches where customers are actively trying to find people to fill their needs. There are websites like Upwork, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, Care, Handy, Craigslist and many others.
The point is getting customers doesn’t need to be complicated.

5. Little Things Can Make A Big Difference


Here is the thing about dog sitting and pet care that I always find a bit funny to think about: none of the customers ever see the service. When you hire a painter, you can be home and actively watch them paint. If you hire a cleaning crew, you can stand above them and nitpick the quality of the job that they are doing.

With pet care, the owners drop their dogs off or they leave you a key to their place. They never see you caring for the dog. As long as the owners don’t find their animals with bruise marks and cuts, they shouldn’t think anything went wrong.

It was a little strange to both of us as first, but many of Dani’s customers had used other pet sitters before settling with Dani. Her customers, in person talk about how much they trust her and how other sitters just didn’t work out.
It was odd at first because she didn’t think she was doing anything special. We both played with the dogs and cats, took them on walks, gave them treats and reluctantly allowed them in our bed sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, Dani loves working with animals, but she couldn’t see how her service was better than anyone else’s.

I realized, after a while, that people were not sold on Dani because her service was more over the top than the other sitters, but because of the little things she did. Check out some of Dani’s reviews and see if you can spot the little things that made all the difference:

“Outstanding communication, care, follow up and most importantly returned home to two tired and happy dogs. In fact the dogs came back cleaner than I dropped them off, the pictures were lovely AND she had a written report ready when I picked them up. I highly recommend Dani.”

“She kept us updated w/ commentary and photos during out two week vacation. Her notes on both dogs provided at pick up were spot on and exhibited knowledge of each one that could only have been gained through caring observation. They returned home better behaved and healthy. We highly recommend her to any dog owner seeking pet sitting services.”

“Danielle did an awesome job taking care of my babies! I was wary of using someone I didn't know as a dog sitter, but her reviews were good and she met everyone beforehand to make sure it would be a good fit. She was available last minute over the holidays and very accommodating- she even picked up and dropped the dogs off! The stay was reasonably priced and she sent pics throughout their stay. They got little report cards at the end of their stay. I would definitely use danielle again. She will care for your pups like her own!”

The point is that things you do that you think are no big deal end up being everything to the customer. Small things like showing up when you say you will, having a good attitude, proper communication, and being accountable can make your business shine.

On the flip side, are there ways you are cutting corners that are turning people off? You might think something is irrelevant, but it could cause you to lose out on potential customers.

6. You Still Are Going to Have to Deal With People


Both Dani and I are introverts. Meeting with new people sucks the life out of us. We both over think situations and replay what we are going to say over and over in our heads. Once a conversation is over, we both overthink things we might have said wrong or over judge ourselves. This may even describe you.

One of the worst things about having an average 9 to 5 job is dealing with all the people you just don’t like. It doesn’t matter if it’s the customer, fellow employees, management or bosses, they all can get under your skin at some point or another.

Many people, including Dani and I, start a business because they think there is going to be freedom from dealing with the BS. In truth, you might have to deal with more of people’s crap.

It doesn’t matter what business you are in or want to start, at some point or another you are going to have to talk to someone. You might have to meet with potential customers or upset customers. There might be a great networking opportunity and you need to get in touch with the person right away. If you need to get a hold of someone fast, you have to pick up the phone no matter how uneasy it makes you. You may need to talk with suppliers, accountants, credit card companies or even town officials.

When Dani was first getting started, we wanted to make sure everything was good and legal. This meant going to town hall and getting the business and location approved by the building inspector.

We live in a society, especially in America, where people have a lack of manners. Now-a-days, it’s okay to disrespect someone’s time by showing up late or not at all. It’s okay to be rude and everything magically becomes okay when you say you’re sorry. Unfortunately, a jerk’s money is just as green as everyone else’s.

A real estate broker once told me that he didn’t mind taking on a-hole customers because no one else wanted to work with them. There was no competition. Jerks still need a place to live too and many of them have money to spend.

So if you think becoming an entrepreneur will allow you to avoid human contact, think again.

7. When Everyone is Enjoying Themselves, You Will Be Working


Remember before when we were talking about how people underestimate the overhead that goes into even a simple business? Well, everyone badly underestimates how much time goes into building up a business or a side gig.

There are going to be people that will say “you’re so lucky” and how you make so much more money than them. While those people get to come home from work and have a beer, you most likely will be working on your business.

When they have Saturday and Sunday off with nothing better to do than watch football, you will have your hands full.

I have heard people call their business “a labor of love” or “like having another kid”. This is true. Dani has had people drop off their dogs at 5:30 in the morning. There have been a few times that we have waited well after midnight for customers to pick up their dogs. We have had to decline many invites from friends and family. Dani and I haven’t had a holiday to ourselves in almost two years.

I remember Christmas day last year, Dani had five travel sit animals (these are dogs and cats that stay at the owners house, Dani comes three times a day to take them out and feed them) and five dogs staying with us at the house. So we woke up around 5:30a.m. - 6a.m. to take out all the dogs at the house for a morning pee. We then quickly ran out of the house. I drove Dani to the different travel sits so she could take those dogs out and feed them. By the time we got back to the house around 9:30a.m. - 10a.m., the dogs there still needed to be fed. By the time we fed them, took them out again, and finally fed ourselves it was time to go back to the travel sit dogs and cats. While most people were enjoying the biggest holiday of the year with their families, Dani was working around the clock.

Now, I understand no one starts a business to work themselves dead. Everyone wants a gig that works itself and that should be the end goal. The problem is most people have the Four Hour Work Week mentality. Getting a business up and running takes real time and effort.

8. You Need To Find Time for Yourself


When you start a business, you will usually have to keep your day job while you wait for things to get going. So, you will have to work a full-time job and deal with your household and family obligations. Those two things can be stressful enough. Add on working on creating your website, writing content, testing ads, dealing with customers, meeting with people, and everything else that goes into growing a business.

Burn out is a very real thing and can happen fast.

No matter what anyone says, it’s okay to take a break and have some time for yourself. Be selfish every once in a while if only for your own sanity. If your business causes too much frustration, you will start to feel defeated. You may grow resentful towards something that was supposed to be your escape.

.................................


If you liked my writing style and have an upcoming project please do not waste any time getting in contact with me. If you know someone that needs quality copywriting work done, please pass my name on to them. Email me at jacobotrainor@gmail.com
Thank you for reading!
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