Starlight Pet Talk

How to Launch a Profitable Pet Business

May 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 19
How to Launch a Profitable Pet Business
Starlight Pet Talk
More Info
Starlight Pet Talk
How to Launch a Profitable Pet Business
May 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 19

In this insightful episode of Starlight Pet Talk, host Amy Castro interviews Eliza Burr, a seasoned pet business coach, about the dynamic world of pet-related businesses. Eliza shares her inspiring journey from the corporate world to becoming a successful pet business coach and delves into the challenges and rewards of starting a pet business.

Key Topics Discussed:

  • Common Misconceptions: Addressing myths about starting and running a pet business.
  • Goal Setting and Systems: Creating clear goals and implementing processes for long-term success.
  • Coaching and Support: How having a pet business coach can guide you through challenges and accelerate your growth.
  • And more!

Tune in for practical tips, personal stories, and expert advice on how to successfully launch and grow a pet-related business. Whether you're just starting or looking to scale, this episode provides valuable insights to help you thrive in the pet industry.

Check out Eliza's podcast, 'Off the Leash with the Pet Business Coach,' for practical tips and personal stories about starting and growing a pet business. 

Visit her website to learn more about how you can work with Eliza:

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Support the show:

▷ Official Site:

▶ Facebook: / starlightoutreachandrescue

▶ YouTube: -

▶ TikTok: / starlightou...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this insightful episode of Starlight Pet Talk, host Amy Castro interviews Eliza Burr, a seasoned pet business coach, about the dynamic world of pet-related businesses. Eliza shares her inspiring journey from the corporate world to becoming a successful pet business coach and delves into the challenges and rewards of starting a pet business.

Key Topics Discussed:

  • Common Misconceptions: Addressing myths about starting and running a pet business.
  • Goal Setting and Systems: Creating clear goals and implementing processes for long-term success.
  • Coaching and Support: How having a pet business coach can guide you through challenges and accelerate your growth.
  • And more!

Tune in for practical tips, personal stories, and expert advice on how to successfully launch and grow a pet-related business. Whether you're just starting or looking to scale, this episode provides valuable insights to help you thrive in the pet industry.

Check out Eliza's podcast, 'Off the Leash with the Pet Business Coach,' for practical tips and personal stories about starting and growing a pet business. 

Visit her website to learn more about how you can work with Eliza:

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Support the show:

▷ Official Site:

▶ Facebook: / starlightoutreachandrescue

▶ YouTube: -

▶ TikTok: / starlightou...

Amy Castro (00:01.006)

Have you ever dreamt of starting your own pet -related business? Well, with the global pet care market poised to surpass $350 billion by 2027, now might be the perfect time for you to take that plunge. But remember, running a business isn't for everyone, so it's crucial to go into it with both eyes wide open. Join us today as we sit down with a seasoned pet business coach to discuss the challenges and rewards of the pet industry and learn some essential steps to success.


If you're ready to turn your passion for pets into a profitable venture and you're prepared for the hurdles, stay tuned. You're listening to Starlight Pet Talk, a podcast for pet parents who want the best pet care advice from cat experts, dog trainers, veterinarians, and other top pet professionals who will help you live your very best life with your pets.


Amy Castro (00:52.302)

Welcome to Starlight Pet Talk. I'm your host, Amy Castro. And if you're anything like me as a pet lover, you've thought about starting your own pet related business, but maybe you haven't pulled the trigger yet, or maybe you've gotten started and it's not going the way that you expect. So my guest today is Eliza Burr, the pet business coach. And she wears a lot of hats. She's an entrepreneur. She's an international coach, a pet industry expert.


She has a podcast, as you can see in the background of her video, if you're watching video called Off the Leash. She writes, she speaks, and she's a recovering corporate junkie and a devoted pet mom. She offers coaching and resources to aspiring and current pet business entrepreneurs. Before launching her own successful pet sitting and dog walking business, Eliza spent 30 years in corporate America in a variety of leadership and coaching roles.


She has extensive practical experience in the pet sitting and dog walking industry and has spent decades working with a wide variety of clients, both furry and human. So Eliza, thank you so much for being with us here today. thank you so much for having me, Amy. I'm excited to be here. And that intro was amazing. I feel special. Thank you. Thank you. We try to do our best to set everybody up for success on this show.


So I went back and I was looking at your profile and obviously you spent many, many years kind of doing the corporate grind and hopefully it wasn't a grind all 30 years, but what, what motivated you to put that aside and become, you know, we'll talk about going into the pet business, but specifically to become a pet business coach.


Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, I enjoyed my corporate career. I climbed the corporate ladder. You know, I lived the American dream and I enjoyed my career, but I got to a point where I just wanted to do something with more meaning. You know, I'm, I'm what they call an encore entrepreneur. So I didn't start my first business until I was yearly 50 years old. So I started a pet sitting and dog walking business and built that business up to 12 employees and multiple six figures. And during that time, while I was running and building that business,


Amy Castro (02:49.934)

I started answering questions. Other pet businesses that I came across would naturally ask questions about, how do you do this? And what was your experience in this area? And I answered them. And I found over time that I really liked helping other pet business owners. So what was kind of a casual on the side kind of thing turned into a whole business. So I started coaching.


business owners, primarily pet sitting and dog walking business owners, but all kinds of different pet business owners full time. And that's kind of how I edged my way into it or worked my way into it. Yeah. It's interesting how that kind of becomes. It's kind of how this whole podcast got started. It's like you answer so many questions from people about their pets that suddenly you're like, Hey, I could be probably doing this on a broader scale and helping more people along the way. I think that's so true that you


you do things you love and all of a sudden you will realize that, hey, I'm doing something I love and I'm successful at it and, you know, I'm helping people. Why not do that for a living? Yeah. That's a wonderful moment. Yeah, it is. It is a good feeling to make that transition. So, you know, obviously you've had your own pet business, you know, you've the coaching business, but your own actual business. What are some of the common misconceptions that you think people have or maybe?


things that caught you by surprise in starting a pet business? that is a great question. You know, I talk to a lot of pet businesses, so I can group their experience with my own experience. But what I've found over the years is that people start pet businesses for certain reasons. And invariably, they're usually the same reasons. One is they believe that they'll spend all day playing with animals, playing with puppies and kittens.


Another one is that they do get along better with animals than they do with people. So they want to go into something where they don't have to work with people. Some of them want to make a lot of money. Some of them want to spend more time with their family and friends. And some of them just don't want to answer to a boss. They want to be their own boss. But when they get into it, and I started my business for many of these same reasons, but when we got into it, when I got into it, when they get into it,


Amy Castro (05:04.078)

They find that we don't play with puppies and kittens all day and we deal primarily with people. You know, if you don't like people and you get into it just to work with animals, you're going to be in for a little bit of a rude awakening. And it's not a career or a path where you're going to make tons of money or get rich, at least overnight. It takes time. And at least in the beginning, building your own business makes it so that you have many bosses and spend very little time with your family. So it's a bit of a shock.


to a lot of pet business owners when they start their business and get, you know, six or eight months in and realize that some of the reasons they started their business are just not realistic. Yeah, those are such excellent points. I mean, we run into that same thing in the rescue with people coming to volunteer. I think people think it's going to be all playing with puppies and kittens and it's really more about scooping poop. You know, you can play with the kittens after you've done the laundry and scoop the poop and clean up the puke and whatever else you get to do. But yeah. And, and.


You know, I think it is important that people realize that, you know, it can be a wonderful thing, but it's, you know, talking to somebody like yourself or talking to other pet business owners, you quickly realize that there's a lot more to it. It is a business and it is, and it is going to be work, but it, you know, it can be lucrative if you're pers, you're persistent and, you know, and everybody's got their different definition of success. People will ask sometimes, you know, what makes somebody successful? It's, it's their definition of it. You know, it could be making 30 ,000. It could be making.


300 ,000, it could be making millions, it could be being a celebrity, whatever it might be, but it's your own definition of success. What characteristics do you think, if you had to say looking at a group of people, this one's probably gonna make it, this one's probably gonna make it, what characteristics do you think make somebody primed for being successful in a pet business? Yeah, I like to think everybody's gonna make it, but you're absolutely right. There are certain characteristics that you have to have or you have to learn.


One of those is the ability to instill confidence in people because you're not selling cantaloupes here. You're, you're coming into people's homes or they're bringing their pets to you and you're taking care of their family members. And that requires a tremendous amount of confidence in you and your abilities from your clients. I think another skill is learning to learn and forgive. So, you know, learning to learn, that's a weird thing to say, but.


Amy Castro (07:27.31)

you as a business owner, especially a new business owner, you really have to be in tune to the fact that you do not know what you don't know. And being able to absorb and learn constantly is a skill that you absolutely have to develop. And when I say learn to forgive, what I mean is you will screw things up, you know, on a daily basis, on an hourly basis sometimes. I still screw things up. I've screwed up at least two things today.


It just happens and learning to forgive yourself is key to being successful in business. And honestly asking for help. I was probably 18 months into my business before I asked for help and there's no good reason for that because there really is a tremendous amount of wonderful people out there to help. Yeah, definitely. I think people are afraid to admit that they're not doing well or they're not succeeding or...


You know, I know one of my mindset things, which is probably kind of dumb. It's, it's sort of a scarcity mindset. Like I can't possibly ask that person what their secret to success is because they're my competitor and why would they want to share that with me? And then there's sometimes people are stingy with information as well. Although surprisingly fewer than you would think, you know, in many, many ways, if you're doing the right things with your business, there's plenty of business for your business and their business. And I think people who've been doing it for awhile realize that and that's why they are.


open to sharing that information with others. And that's my philosophy is there is plenty of business out there for everyone. And competition makes us all stronger. So I've never hesitated to share what I know with others. And I think you're absolutely right. There's a lot less resistance out there than you think there would be. I think most people realize that. So, you know, when you started your pet business and you said it was, was it a dog walking or was it dog walking and pet sitting?


Both. Yep. It was pet sitting and dog walking. We offered a few extra services, pet taxi overnights, but it was primarily pet sitting and dog walking. Okay. So what were some of the challenges that you faced that you now in looking back find are pretty common for people beyond the delusion of what the world, what the business is going to be like? You know, I would say one of the big ones was part of what I mentioned before was learning to work with people.


Amy Castro (09:43.982)

You know, I thought I was great at working with people before I started my business and I was good. You know, I spent, I spent a lot of years in corporate working with people, but working with pet owners, pet parents is a little different than working with everybody else. There's a little more skin in the game. It's more sensitive. It's more personal. Like I said, you are visiting their family members. You're not, and taking care of their family members. You're not selling widgets. So really learning to listen and communicate well.


with pet parents is a challenge. And I'd say the other thing that was a challenge definitely for me, and I see this in a lot of people, is learning to say no. We are caregivers by nature. You know, that's why we got into the business of taking care of animals. So we hate saying no, we hate disappointing people. And we get to the point where we've said yes so often that we are overwhelmed and stressed out and depleted. And our industry, as I'm sure you know, has


a huge burnout rate and it's for that reason. And just being able to confidently say no and feeling okay about it and knowing it's the right thing to do for your business was a huge learning curve for me. Yeah, I think if somebody can get that lesson under their belt or accept that mindset early on, because for most of us, like you said, it's a learning curve issue. And it probably took me 20 years in my business to realize that just because somebody needs me doesn't mean I need them.


And just because they've got money, because people like to say, well, I'm paying for this or I've got this to spend. Doesn't it, you know, sometimes it's better. And I remember telling my husband one time, like I'd rather eat peanut butter and jelly for the rest of my life than work with that person again. And so it's okay. It's okay to have that mindset. I think in business, if you are selective in what you do and who you're doing it for, you will attract more of the same.


as opposed to taking on clients that you don't like that are so demanding. They're never happy. They're always complaining. They're always wanting their money back. They're going to tell their friends. And the next thing you know, you've got a whole bunch of people like that. And then you wonder why you're pulling your hair out in your business. So what are, what do you think are some of the, before we get into some of the nitty gritty of what our options are when it comes to business, we know they're going to be challenged. We know there were, we might be a little bit disillusioned going into it as to what.


Amy Castro (12:03.822)

what the reality of it is, but what's the reward? What do you see from the people that you work with that keeps them going? Definitely, you know, the reason I got into it was to do something with more meaning, you know, and I see that time after time after time with people, especially folks who came out of a traditional nine to five role or the corporate world. They just wanted to do something that was closer to their heart, you know, brought them joy and had more meaning. Another benefit is to some extent with pet businesses,


and service businesses in general, your scheduling is your own. So you can say no, like we talked about when it doesn't work with the idea and the structure of your business that you're envisioning. And really in pet businesses, another benefit and a big benefit is pet businesses are pretty easily scalable. So pet business or dog walking and pet sitting in particular, or grooming businesses really are only as...


small as or as large as you want them to be. It's very easy to bring on people, bring on additional pet sitters and employees and actually radically expand your business without a lot of extra capital. It's a wonderful business to size to what works for your life in a lot of ways. Yeah, that's such a good point too, because when you are, like you said, when you are self -employed, you are in control. And I think the difference between,


deciding I'm going to open a store where there's an expectation that it's going to be open certain hours, which even that can be scaled, but at the same time, you know, if your store is only open two days a week and you're paying rent on a facility, it can get, you know, cost prohibitive to keep running that business. And it's also kind of hard to run a store by yourself, but with something like dog walking, pet sitting, things like that, you know, it's, it's purely about, I have X number of clients. I'm doing X.


tasks for those clients, those tasks takes X amount of time. And you can have a better idea of how many clients you need to either fill your schedule or to do a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or to hire one extra employee or five based on what the clientele is that you bring on. Absolutely. Yeah. And it's, you know, if you want to be a solopreneur and be the only one in your business providing those services, you can do that. That's great. That's me.


Amy Castro (14:22.958)

That's me. I don't want to, I'll just do what I can do. Or if you want to scale, if you want to bring people on, that's, that's also very doable and be able to expand your business and your income. Yeah, definitely. So, and so that brings up a good, a good point, good question about the idea of full -time part -time, because before you and I spoke and you kind of put that concept out there, I was thinking, okay, if you're going to start a business, it's going to be a full -time job.


You know, how would somebody decide, hey, I'm gonna go for this full -time versus part -time and what's the difference? I'm gonna give you the very unsexy answer. The full -time versus part -time, first, many, many parts or many things come into that. But the first thing I would consider is finances. You know, there is certainly a lot of people out there. In fact, most people out there who start this kind of a business as a side hustle.


You know, they've got a regular day job. They've got a side hustle going. They want to make a little extra spending money and that's terrific. And that's as far as they want to take it. So it remains a side hustle. And then there's a lot of people out there that start as a side hustle and grow towards like I did grow towards making that a full -time business. I was doing it as a side hustle for about a year with my full -time corporate job before I went full -time with my pet business. So, you know, I've seen both sides of that. You know, I think that just simply deciding.


what your end goal is from a financial perspective. Is this something I want to do to support me and my family? Is it something I want to just earn a little extra money on? Is it something I want to do to create a lot of money and be able to leave that to my kids as a business or an inheritance? Keep that end goal in mind while you're deciding where you want to take it. Because I think that you set up your business and your systems in the beginning,


with that end goal in mind. And the way you set up your business in the beginning will be different based on what your end goals are, right? So it just, it makes a difference. I see a lot of people just sort of start pet sitting or start dog walking or start grooming and it snowballs and grows and they don't know what to do. And they're panicked and overwhelmed because they didn't really have an end goal in mind. And they're doing a little bit of catch up trying to figure out, you know, what do I do and what do I want this to be?


Amy Castro (16:45.294)

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I'm assuming that, you know, cause I was just thinking about, once you start thinking about that, this is what it's going to take. You got to have this plan. You got to have these goals. Then my brain starts to say, yeah, nevermind. But that's where you would come in, right? As a pet business coach, if I worked with you, you could kind of, because you've been there, done that. And because you know how to coach people, you could help guide me throughout that process. And I would assume that's such a huge advantage and gets you so far ahead in the learning curve.


Are you finding that with your existing clients? yeah, absolutely. A lot of my corporate time was spent in process improvement and writing processes and systems and being able to put everything together in an efficient way. So I work with a lot of people on that. I love working with new pet business owners on that because they're at the right point to set all these things up to be successful. But I also work with a lot of pet business owners who are years into their business and they don't have any of this.


in place or set up and they're at a pretty high frustration level. So, you know, I work with people on both sides of it and this is where it comes back to knowing what your end goal is too. A lot of people at some point want to retire. They want to build a business. They want to do it full time for as long as they want to do it. And then they want to sell the business and they want to retire. Well, you can't sell a business that can't survive without you.


So the key to being able to reach that end goal is to be able to have systems and processes and people in place that allow the business to function without you, which a lot of people are a little overwhelmed by, but it's very doable. Yeah, and as aside from my involvement in the pet world as somebody that works with people in businesses, that's such a huge piece of it because...


You can lumber along for a pretty good while without having those things into place. And it's when you get to a couple of points. Number one, when you're trying to grow or you start bringing on employees and then you realize I've got, I can't hold that person accountable because there is no job description because there is no procedure, et cetera. But that's such a huge point that you make is the end game of retirement. And cause I've done workshops on, you know, are you going to just shut the doors or are you going to, you know, sell your business? Are you going to transfer it to your kids? And.


Amy Castro (19:03.758)

You know, it's one thing like for Amy Castro, for my speaking and training business, when I'm done, I'm done. That's it. You know, and I, so I don't have to have transferable processes, procedures, things like that for somebody else. But if I wanted to sell my training business, what am I selling? I can't sell what's up in my head. I'm not selling my house because that's where I work out of. I can't sell, you know,


the knowledge that I have unless I transfer that to some type of process procedure documentation that somebody else can pick up where I left off. So that's a big piece of it. And it's so much easier, I think, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, if you start doing that early on rather than coming into it, now I have to create all these, you know, SOPs. And I just did a post the other day about why people need standard operating procedures. Even if you have a small business, there's so many reasons for it. And there's so many ways you can do it. Shoot, there's...


There's software on your computer now that will document as you're typing up a process or, you know, first I do this. The second I do that, you know, if you do that early on, it's much less overwhelming than if you are months and years into it. Now you've got to go back and create this huge standard operating procedure binder for lack of a better term and come up with that later on.


100%. I am so in agreement with you. And you know, the other thing that happens is these businesses get going and they need people and they start hiring people and they start training people, but they don't have any documented SOPs procedures or training processes. So every person they talk to, they're telling something a little bit different and they're training them a little bit different. And, you know, all of a sudden you have five or six or 10 people who have.


developed a way of working and representing your company that is different and may not match, honestly, with the way you want them to do things and the way you want them to represent your company because you never had, and you created that confusion because you never had, not really, it's your fault. I don't know what my job is, I just show up here at eight o 'clock. Yeah, you never had a single starting point for people and those procedures to be able to do that. So yeah, it's so much easier early on.


Amy Castro (21:13.198)

Well, and then, you know, between the hiring process, cause I do a workshop called hire the right fit employee every time. And at the beginning of that workshop, I tell the story of the, you know, the frog Prince, right? So Prince gets turned into a frog. The only way that he can get turned back into a Prince is to find his, you know, perfect match. And it's like, when you're hiring for your business, it's kind of the reverse story. You think you found the perfect match and then a frog shows up on the first day of the job. And the problem is, you know, number one, it's your hiring process.


But I think too, this whole idea of what have I been hired for? I mean, it's, it's scary to me how many people cannot tell me what their, what their job responsibilities are, you know, in a clear fashion. And so it's no wonder people are just running around like, you know, chickens with their head cut off sometimes. And then you wonder why, well, why is this person not succeeding or why is this employee not doing what they're supposed to be doing? Because they have no idea what that is. You haven't defined that for them. And on all of this process.


starts before you start putting out a job announcement. I mean, it's like, you know, having that information in place is so critical. I want to jump back to the idea of leaving a perfectly good job to just randomly start your business. And I liked that you had said something about, you know, doing it as a side hustle. I kind of am of the belief that you shouldn't, unless you've got a significant other that can support you, which is how I started my business, but I started.


my business coming out of the air force and not having a job. So it was kind of easy to say, I'll just take that risk. But it always scares me when over the years, people have been like, you know, I've got this job and I'm making, you know, $260 ,000 a year, but I want to stop and be a professional motivational speaker talking about happiness. Have you lost your mind? You know, what is the plan to do that? That's it's pretty, and some people are up to the risk and others aren't. So what do you think about the idea of.


quitting your job and starting a business or easing into it by, you know, checking it out as a side hustle first. You know, I am a planner. So rarely do I advise people that they should just jump ship no matter how unhappy or miserable they are at their current job. When I decided that I was going to start a pet business, I came home from my day job that day and I told my husband, I said, I'm going to quit my job to walk dogs for a living.


Amy Castro (23:35.598)

And my husband, God bless him, he's incredibly supportive, just nodded. Okay, dear, you do what you have to do. And I think part of the reason he said that was that he knows that I am a planner. So, you know, I had, I didn't just jump into it. I had an exit strategy for my corporate job. So, you know, I had a business building plan that got me to a point.


where I was comfortable leaving my corporate job. I hate to say this, but I managed, I took some precautions. Let's say that. So for example, I didn't tell my day job, my corporate boss that I was running this side hustle. And that's a personal choice. You can choose to tell them or not tell them. I chose not to because I honestly, I didn't know for sure if this was going to work out.


So I wanted to, I didn't want to burn any bridges or create the idea that I might leave or I wasn't committed to my corporate job. I think that's super smart because I think too many times people tip their hand and you have, if it's not interfering with your work, what you do in your personal life is your personal business. But there are supervisors out there that if you say, hey, I'm doing this side hustle, I've really always wanted to have a dog walking business. The next thing you know, you're getting less hours at work or you're getting not in the big projects because they're waiting, they're just.


prepping themselves for you to leave. So I would be very, very cautious about that. And I was careful, you know, I was in a job that provided me a lot of flexibility with my time, but even so I made sure that when I left to do a pet sitting job in the middle of the day, I was using my lunch hour, for example, you know, and I did client visits or client meetings after my, my day job. So, you know, I, I made sure that I wasn't giving my current job any less of my energy or effort.


because I was still dedicated to it at that point. And, you know, I took my time, the business built and got better. I had an end goal. I was, you know, working the business and building the business. And when that came to fruition and I was ready to, you know, tell my boss that I was leaving to run this pet business full time, I had a good plan and I felt good about it. So it's, you said it, it's, it's planning, you know, it's all about having a realistic expectation of.


Amy Castro (25:54.734)

of what your current is and what your future is and being able to work that plan. Yeah, that's such good advice for sure. So let me ask you this, as far as the, you know, choosing the pet business, I've had several friends that have come up to me over the years and been like, I really would like to start, you know, maybe a stay at home mom, the kids are now off at high school or they've gone off to college. And I'm like, pooper scooping business. I just feel like.


A poop scooping business could really turn into something that would, because who likes doing that? Nobody likes doing that. Anyway, so that was, you know, that was kind of my idea for a business, but you know, you talked about dog walking, pet sitting, you mentioned grooming. I, you know, I brought up the idea of having a pet store. I mean, obviously you have to pick what you're going to do, but beyond that, is it important to find a specific niche? Cause my, my concern is.


for somebody that decides they want to be a jack of all trades. So I'm going to be a groomer and I'm going to do pet sitting and I'm going to do dog walking. Is it better to just stick to one thing? It is definitely better to stick to one or a few things. You know, I think I live by the saying you cannot be all things to all people. You know, I think that's absolutely true. You will kill yourself and get burned out trying. So I think when you're going into a business and when you're


thinking about what type of business you want to go into, there's a couple of questions to ask yourself. And one of those is how much people interaction do you want? Because, you know, as we mentioned, a lot of people get into pet care because they like pets or animals more than they like people. So in a business like you mentioned, you know, pooper scooping, that is a pet business where you don't have to have a lot of interaction with people.


You know, aside from setting up the clients originally, you're going into their yards when they're not there, you're scooping the poop, you're in, you're out. You're not talking to a lot of people or having to deal with a lot of people. Whereas if you set up a business like dog training, for example, you are almost constantly with the dog and their owner. You know, you're dealing a lot with people. So deciding how much of that interaction really plays into the decision for me. I would also say.


Amy Castro (28:08.302)

You know, take a look at what kind of animals do you like? And, and this sounds like a weird question. You know, I love animals. I love all animals. Everybody says I love all animals. Well, think, think hard about that because that's probably not entirely true. Maybe you don't love working with giant dogs. You know, maybe you don't want to work with snakes or spiders. Maybe you, you don't like cats, whatever it is. You.


Probably have some preferences and if you try to force yourself into a mold or a business where you're You know dealing with all kinds of animals. I Ultimately, you know, you'll you'll be Disappointed I think in the end and then the last thing I'd say you want to think about is is financial again It's it's capital, you know, there's businesses such as a pet sitting or dog walking business that requires almost no initial investment and then there's businesses like


brick and mortar grooming facility that requires a significant chunk of capital. So how much money you want to put into it initially, I think, also helps determine what your niche is. Yeah, even mobile grooming, you know, sometimes people think, that'll be less expensive because I don't have to pay rent or I don't have to build a facility or whatever. Take a look at the price of those vans.


Even before you've outfitted them. Cause I've been looking for one for the rescue and it's like, Holy moly. You know, those appropriate type of van, if you're going to do mobile grooming is very expensive. And then you add on, add on the equipment, but that's, that is such a good point. Cause I've always considered myself a dog lover and I do love dogs. I like other people's dogs when they're at their house. I like my dogs at my house, but you know, I think that's such a good point about if I decided to become a dog trainer, that would be a terrible job for me. Cause I don't like.


untrained dogs who are jumping on me or dogs that want to try to bite me or, you know, puppies with poopy feet climbing all over me. I mean, I like them from afar, but yeah. So, you know, it probably dog training or running a boarding kennel, something like that might not be for me. And I think back to your point you made very early on the interaction with the people. It's, it's not even just about people interaction. It's the, it's the piece of the way that people feel about their pets, especially these days that.


Amy Castro (30:25.326)

that could be the most difficult part of any interaction is dealing with the expectations, especially poor groomers. I mean, it's one thing to say, I didn't get all the poop in a backyard. It's another thing to be arguing with somebody over what an inch of hair actually is when they flip out because, you know, you cut four feet of hair off their dog, but it was in reality only an inch. And they get into those discussions every single day with angry customers. And so, you know, it's something definitely.


I hate to be a negative Nellie, but you know, something, something definitely to consider on that people's side. I think another, another piece of it too. So we have this game that we play and well, I play the game in my family because I apparently I'm not a very nice person, but as I'm driving around in town, I'll see a new business open up and I have a very good success rate in being able to say that's going to last a month. That's going to last two months. That's not going to last a week.


And it's just based on my observation of what is the community makeup of what I'm in and what is that business doing or selling or serving and, and it get a fly here kind of thing. So how important is it to do some market research? You know, it's great to say, I, this is what I want to do, but if you're not getting paid to do it and you can't get customers, there's no point. Right. So what's, what's your advice as far as determining whether your community will.


Support or you know whether you know, there's a market for what you're trying to do Yeah, absolutely. And that's that's a great question You know what what I typically advise people is that you want to look at the industry or your particular business from a micro level and a macro level so a macro level is looking nationally and and there are


industry reports on this kind of thing for just about every type of business, but the number of your type of business across the nation, how they're doing, what the growth rates are. There's a ton of information out there about that to look from a macro or national level. But then you also need to look micro and that's your own, of course, that's your own region or your own neighborhood. And that's not that hard to do. You know, in fact, it can be as easy as an Excel spreadsheet where you've gone into Google, you've...


Amy Castro (32:37.678)

Googled all of the similar businesses that are in your area, write them all down in a column and the next to them write down what services they offer and how much they're charging for those services and any other information that their website gives you, how long they've been in business, what type of business they are, anything. Yeah, what they charge for things. Exactly, yeah. And from that, from that kind of a spreadsheet, you can make a good comparison against, okay, this is what I want to offer.


this is how many people out there there are out there offering the same thing I'm going to offer or related things to what I'm going to offer. Is there a need and you'll be able to tell that, you know, and the best scenario in that case is you've gone through, you've done your Google search, you've gone through and you've found lots and lots of businesses like what you want to start. A lot of people think that the best possible scenario is you don't find any competition.


That's not true. The best possible scenario is that there's a bunch of them out there because they're all out there and there's business for all of them and clearly there is a market need. And then the other thing I tell people is, you know, call businesses and talk to them. You know, ask them how they're doing, how it's going. And these don't have to be, and this is key, doesn't have to be similar businesses in your area. It just needs to be similar businesses.


You know, so call a similar business. If you're opening up a grooming shop, call a grooming shop in the state next to you or halfway across the country because they are not directly competing with you. Right. And more often than not, they are just wonderful sources of incredible business information, information why you should do this and this and this, because they've got nothing to lose and people like to help. So that was a great, a great tactic. Yeah, that's great advice.


Are there any, you know, speaking of that idea of, going out there and finding, actually, you made me feel a lot better about my, about this podcast because it's not like I didn't think there were going to be other pet podcasts out there. I didn't realize there were going to be hundreds of them. I mean, I knew there's gazillion podcasts out there, but there are literally hundreds of pet podcasts out there. And it's like.


Amy Castro (34:46.574)

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Like you said, it's, I'm now looking at the glass half full instead of half empty that obviously there's a demand for it. Just try to climb the ladder of success in that realm. But are there some underserved markets that you would say, Hey, if you're thinking about this, here's one that's likely to be successful. There is, and, and, and to explain exactly what it is, I have to go back a bit during the pandemic, there was kind of a triple whammy.


What happened during the pandemic was a lot of people adopted pets. You've heard of pandemic puppies and COVID kittens. Everybody adopted a pet and they were all home for these pets. So they had a lot of time to spend with these pets. Pet sitters and dog walkers in particular went out of business. Unfortunately, there was a lot of solopreneurs. Sorry, my cat is yelling at me in the background. I hope you can't hear her.


It's lunchtime. no, I hear it's okay. It's a pet podcast. We're allowed to have cats. Yeah. Wouldn't be a meeting without an animal. But yeah, a lot of people, unfortunately, pet businesses went out of business during the pandemic and then people went back to work, right? Not only did they go back to work, they realized that life is short and life is precious. So they started traveling more. So what that created, all of those things created was a gap in the marketplace between.


the availability of professional pet sitters and dog walkers and the need in the marketplace. And there's a huge gap. There's still a huge gap today that we're working to fill. So when you talk about things that really are needed in the marketplace, it's that, you know, boots on the ground, in -house, pet sitting and dog walking and being able to service those clients. I'd say another huge need, that's definitely at the top of my list, but


Another huge need is, you know, these people who got all these dogs in particular during the pandemic were with them, home with them 100 % of the time for a year or two years. Well, then they left and they went back to work or back to the office. And this poor dog who, you know, has been with their humans since they were a puppy goes absolutely ballistic because they, you know, they're, they have such high anxiety that they can't separation anxiety that they can't be alone.


Amy Castro (37:04.654)

Well, you know, that's where the businesses come into it and being able to train those dogs and work with those dogs to get to a manageable level. So that's another huge gap in the market that I'm seeing. Good to know. That's definitely good to know. I like that you said professional because I think that's something that people need to realize it that can be beneficial to them, certainly in the long run and maybe required in certain places as well. Cause I don't know a lot about this, but.


You know, there are, there's an association for everything and there's certification for everything seemingly in this world. Maybe not certified professional pooper scooper, but you know, there are certifying bodies for pet sitting. And I think you can set yourself apart in any industry by seeking appropriate, legitimate professional certification versus I just want to decide to walk dogs. or am I wrong about that? no, a hundred percent. There's, there's awesome organizations out there. The.


International Boarding and Pet Services Association, IBSA is out there, NAPS, National Association for Professional Petsitters, Petsitters International, there's dog training associations, wonderful organizations. And the fact is that our industry is one that is not very heavily or very well regulated. So for most pet care businesses, you don't need a license or certification.


You can have one, you can go get one, but you're not required by law to be certified or registered or licensed by anybody. So it leaves it up to the individual owner. And that is, I mean, you said it, it's such an important part of projecting a professional business and a professional level of care in getting, pursuing some of those certifications. When I started my business, I got NAPs.


National Association of Professional Pets that are certified. And, you know, absolutely that helped me in my business and helped me gain clients, quite honestly. So it's not something people have to do, but if they're not doing it, they're probably not as serious as they think they are. Yeah. Good point. And they have, you know, all these associations have resources available to their members that can help you shorten your learning curve.


Amy Castro (39:29.806)

grow your business faster, things like that along the way. So something definitely to keep in mind. Usually you get a pretty good, good amount of benefits when it comes to memberships. So if somebody is still listening and we haven't scared them off, not that you've scared them off, I'm going to scare them off and they're thinking, yes, I still want to pursue this. What would be some important next steps to get started? And then I also want to, you know, kind of tie into that. How can a coach like yourself, or, you know, if I was to contact you to help me to do this, how would that benefit me?


Yeah, absolutely. You know, I'd say, and I hate to keep coming back to money, but I'd say start with the finances. You know, think about where you are and what you want to go, how you can meet those goals. And then from there, I'd say, learn about business. And I would actually say learn about business before I say learn about pet care. Yes. Which sounds backwards, but, but you know, people don't get into pet businesses typically because they.


are business experts. They get into them because they are pet care experts. So, you know, take some time to learn about the business aspects before you jump in with both feet. And in terms of finding help out there, you know, and how I can help you, there's a tremendous amount of help out there, associations like we talked about, lots of free resources. You know, I'm a tremendous reader and studier, but I'm also a tremendous fan of seeking out coaching and help.


You know, there are things that I made so many mistakes in the beginning with my business. I can't even tell you how many, but when you find a coach, it's really someone who can help you avoid those pitfalls. You're still going to make mistakes, but you know, they're helping you not fall into the giant crater mistakes along the way and grow at a faster speed in a more efficient way and in a more sustainable way for your business. So,


Coaching, you know, I'm biased obviously, but I think finding a great coach is so helpful in so many ways in helping you get to where you want to be quicker and easier. Yeah. And it's interesting. Sometimes people will say, well, I can't afford to get a coach and I am of the belief that you can't afford not to, because I mean, I even hired a coach to help me get this podcast started. I mean, I did my own research so I could go into it.


Amy Castro (41:51.854)

wisely and knowing what I needed from a coach. Cause I think that's important, but you know, I've had two different coaches in different aspects of the podcast and it gets to the point where, you know, I'm a year into it and people will say, wow, you've accomplished that. Or how did you know that? It's like, because I had a coach, I didn't just, you know, make this up along the way. And so I think the money, you know, assuming you choose your coach wisely, somebody that knows what they're doing, it's definitely money well spent and it will definitely cut your learning curve significantly.


And I see this all the time. A coach can be the difference between getting your business to a feasible financial level to support yourself in six months versus three years. You know, and if you hadn't gotten that coach, you'd still be struggling two years or three years down the line trying to get to a sustainable financial business. And when you think about it that way, you're absolutely right. You can't afford not to. It's...


You had to think longer term basically. And if, if you're, you know, only thinking in the next three to six months, you're, you're going to struggle. Right. Yeah. I mean, it's an, it's an investment towards building your business, just like investing in equipment or insurance or whatever else you might need along the way. So if, if somebody wanted to work with you and we will certainly put some links and contact information in our show notes, but how would somebody go about working with you? Like should they do it?


you know, obviously, they're going to contact you, but should they do it before they get too far into the thinking process? Should they get certain things in place and then say, okay, I'm ready for a coach? How does that work? Yeah, absolutely. Well, I work with people at all stages in their journey. So I offer a couple of options. I offer one on one coaching. I do 30 or 60 minute one on one coaching sessions. I also offer a package of a series of individual coaching sessions.


Or I've actually just launched a program called Unleash You, a Petpreneur Freedom Blueprint. And this is for businesses who it's a 12 week intensive coaching program with a bunch of bells and whistles and extras. This is for people who have just gotten to the point in their business where they are consumed and they are overwhelmed and they are in the field all the time and they don't have much of a life anymore. So that's really aimed at people whose businesses have.


Amy Castro (44:14.574)

just kind of growing so well, which is a good thing, but to the point where they've, they've gotten away from them a little bit. So, you know, I, I work very hard to kind of meet people where they are and give them a coaching option that works best to help them meet their goals. so, so the best way to find out more is my website and my website is the pet business coach .dog dog.


I'm also on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn if you search for the Pet Business Coach. All the information's there. I'd be happy for people to visit. That's great. Eliza, thank you so much for being here with us today. And I think we've given people a good basis to start making some decisions about whether this is the right thing for them, what direction they might want to go in. And I think it's awesome that you're there available to help people along with their journey and.


cut that learning curve, because I'm all about cutting the learning curve. So thank you so much for being here today. Me too. So, and thank you so much for having me on. I'm happy to have been here and it's been, it's been just wonderful talking with you. and I forgot to ask you, so your off the leash podcast, can you tell us what that's about? Is that something that would benefit the people that are listening and saying, yeah, I want to start a pet business. Absolutely. So it's a combination of, it's actually off the leash with the pet business coach. If you're, if you're searching for it on your podcast platform.


And it's a combination of practical episodes with tools and tricks and tips and ways to improve your pet business, as well as personal stories about the journey that a lot of I made and a lot of people are making into out of a traditional role or traditional job into something that has a lot more meaning and allows you to be a lot more engaged with the world, I think, and bring you joy. Great.


So yeah, everybody needs to check that out as well. So again, thank you for being here with us today. And for everybody who's listening, thank you for listening to another episode of Starlight Pet Talk. Maybe take that childhood dream of having a pet business from the back burner to a reality. And if you know somebody else that's considering making that transition or starting a pet business, be sure to share this episode with them. Thanks for listening to Starlight Pet Talk.


Amy Castro (46:31.342)

Be sure to visit our website at www .starlightpettalk .com for more resources and be sure to follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app so you'll never miss a show. If you enjoyed and found value in today's episode, we'd appreciate a rating on Apple. Or if you'd simply tell a friend about the show, that would be great too. Don't forget to tune in next week and every week for a brand new episode of Starlight Pet Talk. And if you don't do anything else this week, give your pets a big hug from us.


Introduction and Overview
Motivation to Start a Pet Business
Common Misconceptions about Pet Businesses
Learning to Say No and Setting Boundaries
Scalability in Pet Businesses
Setting Goals and Creating Systems for Success
Planning and Preparation
Choosing a Niche
Market Research
Professional Certification
Professional Certification