October 19, 2010 was one of the most important days of my life. That’s the day I purchased my Fetch! franchise and set me on my way with my second career. I had “retired” after 25 years in the TV business when I left The Weather Channel in the summer of 2009. I had never thought of myself as a business owner, but when the opportunity presented itself to get involved with Fetch!, it was too good to pass up. And besides, it had been several years since I’d had Mack, my black lab and had missed having a dog around.
I got 4 days of pretty intense training with the Fetch! corporate staff in California and having the backing of the franchise has been very helpful to me. This experience has been great for me. It’s revitalized me from the staleness I had developed. It’s forced me to develop new skills and change the way I think about things. I didn’t really open for business until right before Christmas and only had a few clients. I didn’t really start marketing a lot until February, hoping to pick up some business from spring breakers. It came slowly but surely. It was nice getting the repeat business too. Things really picked up this year in March and haven’t slowed down. It was important having the year under my belt and that helped me with some marketing decisions and some things I did at different times of the year.
The thing I’ve enjoyed the most is new relationships I’ve made with my sitters, the clients, their pets and the many people I’ve met while attending various networking groups trying to spread the good word about Fetch! Several people have kind of taken me under their wing and have been very giving with advice and suggestions. I learned at the Weather Channel how important it is to hang out with people who are a lot smarter than you. It’s amazing what you can learn that way! I’ve tried to do the same as a business owner and listen to people who are very knowledgeable in things like marketing, sales, social media and computers.
It’s been very rewarding for me. The financial rewards aren’t where I want them yet, but I’m very pleased with the way that is progressing. It’s given me a real sense of accomplishment to be able to make this work. I’ve learned how important we’ve become to our clients and how much they love being able to count on us to take care of their pets. That’s been the most rewarding thing, seeing the pets so happy when we’re there. What a great job I have! I get to play with dogs like this 9 week old border collie, Abby, we signed up today! I get to spend my afternoons outside enjoying the wonderful fall weather! What could be better!
Every day’s not great. One day I was walking a dog and it seemed sluggish. I noted that to the client and she agreed and said she was going to take it to the vet. Two days later it was put down. An old dog I was staying in the house with over Christmas was having some issues. I was staying in contact with the owner and he told me to take it to the vet on the day after Christmas. The dog had developed pancreatitis and had to be put down. I was sorry the owner wasn’t there to say goodbye.
I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve tried to learn from them. That’s something I feel like I’ve always been good about. Sometimes there have been procedural mistakes and we’ve tried to develop a way to keep it from happening again. I’ve tried to have a sort of checks and balance system with the sitters and the clients. I’ve made some marketing investments that didn’t pay off, either in the time or the money I’ve put into it. I still think that anything I’ve done to get my name out there hasn’t been a total waste of time. Who knows when it eventually pay off with some business.
I take the responsibility of caring for my client’s homes and pets very seriously. But we market ourselves as having fun with the pets. And when there’s fun involved, the animals are happy. When the animals are happy when the clients come home, the clients are happy. They use our service again and that makes me happy! For everyone who’s helped make these two years so successful I say thanks! I’m looking forward to many more years of providing great service to the clients and the pets and giving the sitters a chance to earn extra money and have a great time doing it!
Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA. You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.