I've got some resources today to support you and your pet business through this time, dear one.
Please note that if you received multiple copies of this email, it won't happen again. I wanted to make sure everyone on my various email lists received this important information, during this challenging time.
This is, by far, the longest email I've ever sent you (and probably ever will!) but there's a lot of information I wanted to share with you today, to support you while you go through this strange time.
But first, this is the mug I'm drinking tea out of right now. It's the perfect mantra for me, at this moment in time. And maybe it'll be the perfect one for you right now too.
If you can't read the mug words in the photo, here they are:
Where would you have me go?
What would you have me do?
What would you have me say,
and to whom?
-A Course in Miracles
So, I'm going to start with the emotional support resources because starting there will help you be much better equipped to take care of your business.
The first emotional support resource is to take a deep breath.
When we get scared, we stop breathing. When we don't breathe, or only take shallow breaths, that triggers the "fight or flight part" of our brain, which can then cause more anxiety and fear.
Just like you are learning to wash your hands for more seconds than you probably ever have before, what's going on now in the world is **requiring you to inhale and exhale for more seconds than you ever have before.**
So, before you read any further...
TAKE A 5-SECOND INHALE.
TAKE A 5-SECOND EXHALE.
Then do it again.
I promise you, if you remember to take regular, deep inhales and exhales, you'll feel more grounded and be more able to deal with what's going on right now.
Deep breathing is "thing one" to support you emotionally during this time and bonus: you can use it long after this is over - running a pet business can bring up a lot. Deep breathing, on a regular basis, is a good habit to cultivate now and for your future.
So, take another deep breath now.
There you go.
Here are other emotional support tools for your support:
Soothing Music to Help Calm You Right Now, in this Moment:
I discovered "Jim Butler's Deep Energy Podcast" on Apple Podcasts when I was browsing for new podcasts a few weeks ago.
I'm so grateful I found it as this particular track is one that calms my nervous system. You might want to try what I've been doing which is to play it an hour or two before going to sleep. It helps me let go of that day's news and bring me back home to myself. I also play it during the day when I'm feeling emotionally squirrely inside and it soothes from from the inside out. Jim Butler has many different pieces of music but there's something about this particular track that gets me feeling calm each and every time. It's called Cloudy Day which feels appropriate for what's going on too. Please note, this link may not work if you don't have a Mac or iPhone. If not, just search for it online and you'll find it!
Jim Butler Track 187 - The Cloudy Day - Music for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation
When I hear the song "Better Boat" by Kenny Chesney, it often brings me to tears, especially now with what we're all dealing with. (In fact, I've got tears in my eyes as I write this.)
This song is perfect for the social distancing that can be painful for a lot of us too. Please note: this song has the word "God" once in it. I wanted to give you a head's up in case that's a triggering word for you - and if it is a triggering word for you, no worries, but even so I would encourage you to at least listen once to see if you like the song and find it comforting, as I have.
Kenny Chesney's song "Better Boat"
Books for Emotional Support:
In most of my pet business books, I've recommended Wayne Muller's book
because I've found it to be a soothing read with short chapters that help me wind down when I'm a bit too amped up with work projects, etc.
Many of my coaching clients have said that it's the book they read before bed to chill out and relax them. You may find that too. I'm not Jewish, but I love the idea of a day of rest. What a concept. And for many of us, this time is calling us to REST. This book will help you do that and remind you how to be a human being instead of a constant human doing.
Wayne Muller's book
This book is blowing my mind.
I actually ordered it for a friend who suffers from anxiety but when I got it in the mail I ended up devouring it and had to order him a different copy as I wanted to keep the one I got for him. If you are feeling anxious, or even a little scared right now, this book is the book for you. And it's on Audible if you prefer listening to books rather than reading them. I can't say enough about this book. It's one I think every person should have in their emotional support toolbox.
Sarah Wilson's book
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Conversation about Anxiety
Podcasts to Soothe and Comfort You
On Being with Krista Tippett
The Work of Byron Katie
The Moment When (please note that some episodes can be graphic, but most are inspiring as it's about overcoming adversity and hardship)
Interesting and Entertaining Podcasts to Lose Yourself In
Criminal, Crime Junkie or The Thing about Pam (head's up: most episodes contain violence)
Death, Sex and Money
Business Support Tools
Below are some suggestions to help you in your pet business right now.
Facebook Groups for Pet Business Owners. Below are three no-cost Facebook groups I created and that I moderate. The first one (Prosperous Pet Business) is an online community for all kinds of pet service providers including dog walkers, dog trainers, pet groomers, dog daycare owners and pet sitters. There are also some pet store and cat boarding owners in that group. Come join me in one or more of these groups below. I look forward to seeing you and supporting you there.
**Next week I'll be hosting a 2-hour online pet business support / co-working group via Zoom video. More details to come soon. **
Here's a Way to Consider Dealing with Client Cancellations:
What I'm about to share comes with the caveat that this way of dealing with many client cancels is
not for everyone.
When I posted this recommendation on Facebook, I got some push back from a handful of pet business owners who had a lot of resistance to doing this, but I've had a
few hundred of my coaching clients do this with amazing results from their pet owner clients so if you feel inclined to do this, why not do it and see what happens?
There's no guarantee that it will result in your clients supporting you financially during this time, but it's worth a shot.
First, I need to tell you what inspired me to recommend this as an option to pet business owners
My husband and I decided to continue to pay our weekly housecleaner, even though she's (sadly) not coming the next few weeks due to our city being under a 21-day mandatory lock down - what this means is that no one (including us and my housecleaner - sniff sniff) can leave the house except to go to the grocery store or go to the hospital. Oy. Thankfully, walks and hikes are allowed as long as six feet distance between people is maintained. That's my saving grace in all this!
A lot of other cities are experiencing this lock down too or their clients now have mandatory work from home orders so many clients have no need for a dog walker, pet sitter or dog daycare (or whatever the pet service is that the pet business owner offers).
After this all started, I heard from a few of my coaching clients that some of their dog walking, dog training and pet sitting clients were paying them even though they’ve asked them not to come because they're working from home or, like me, they have a mandatory lock down in place.
Those of you who are experiencing a large amount of cancellations: it can’t hurt to write an email to your clients and ask if they would be willing to pay for the service even though you’re not coming right now.
Please note: The idea of this email is that you’re making a *suggestion* or a request, NOT a demand.
I miss (dog’s name) and I you all are doing okay during this challenging time.
Some of our clients are understandably pausing the dog walking service because they are <working from home or _____> but nevertheless are continuing to pay some or all of the service fee, as a way to support us, a small business that provides them a valuable service.
We understand that everyone had their own financial constraints and some will not be able to do this.
But for those of you who can, we would be forever grateful for your support.
If you can, here's our Paypal email <or Venmo account>
We look forward to getting back to business and helping you with your pet(s) as soon as we can!
Here's an Example of How Asking For What I Wanted Helped Me - And My Staff
When I had my pet business, my staff and I rarely got tips. Then, one day, I had the idea to add this simple phrase to each and every reservation confirmation: Tips are greatly appreciated but not expected. Please note that 100% of your tip goes to the person providing the service. Thanks so much for your generosity!
My business tip percentage went from 10% to 80% after putting that 3 sentence paragraph on the reservation confirmation. 80%!
If you don't ask, you often won't get. It's worth a shot.
Here are two of many comments I've seen from pet business owners who have sent the above email: