Au Pair for Paws
How and Why I Started a Successful Pet Sitting Business at the Age of 16
I never aspired to be the founder of a dog sitting business, but that is precisely what I did at age 16. Before becoming a dog sitter and satisfying my desire for a salary, I rigorously searched for a conventional job for an interminable amount of time. However, after determining that none of the orthodox occupations suited my specific needs, I started my pet sitting empire from the ground up. I researched dog boarding in my area to get a grasp for the practicality of this profession and produced effective means of advertising to acquire clientele. Making decisions for myself allowed me to feel personally accomplished, and being able to successfully sustain my financial situation enabled me to feel deserving of spending time with my friends. Developing a local dog sitting business, even though it simply started as a way to make extra spending money, transformed me into an independent and self-reliant adult by allowing me to create an alternative means of overcoming my financial obstacles.
Not having enough money to attend many of the weekend plans my friends had been a constant reminder of why I needed a job in order to better spend my leisure. I often declined to go to a movie or a restaurant because of the cost, despite how I would ordinarily jump at the opportunity. Unlike my working peers, I had no source of income to participate in the costly activities that we desired to do. I wanted to seek employment to avoid being left out of social gatherings, but I saw firsthand from many of my comrades how temporally demanding their occupations were. Working, in turn, would have created a paradox and limited the amount of free time I had to socialize and take part in fun excursions. My mission was clear, yet seemingly unattainable: find a workplace that had semi-flexible hours so that I did not have to miss out on spending time with my friends. I started my search places known for hiring teenagers, like McDonald's and Kroger, but received reject emails from both companies. The next two weeks were a blur of job applications that demanded the same information verbatim. I was accepted into a few minimum wage positions, but none of them would have given me the privilege of having weekends off. Despite my persistence, I could not find a job that fit my needs. If I was going to find the perfect job for me, I would have to investigate into alternative forms of employment.
After exhausting my efforts in the search for a traditional job, I dove headfirst into dog sitting. Considering my immense affection for dogs, it baffled me that I had not thought of this option beforehand. I started researching the feasibility of dog sitting in my area when I stumbled upon an astonishing fact; the average cost for boarding a pet in Pickerington was 40 dollars every day, and despite how saturated the luxury pet care market was, the options for more affordable care were scarce. If I charged a respectable 20 dollars per day, which would be half of the average cost for pet care, I would still earn more than double minimum wage. Also, since the job often does not require a strict hourly schedule, I could still be capable of passing time with my friends. In fact, my pals and I have made trips to dog parks in the past, so I could spend time with them and take care of my canine clients simultaneously. With the combination of dog sitting monetary and temporal aspects, it seemed to be my ideal calling.
Officially setting my mind on being a pet sitter, I started contemplating cost effective methods of advertising to obtain customers. Many of the conventional ways, similar to television commercials and magazine articles, were considerably extortionate. Spending a substantial sum on advertising was simply not an option; if I had a sizable amount of money to spend on endorsements, I would not need to pet sit in the first place. My mother and sister both have a large amount of followers on social media, so I asked for their help, which they gave willingly. They both post messages on public Facebook boards with my name and number, asking people to call me if they needed a pet sitter. In addition, I invested a small amount of money in personalized business cards to give out to possible future clients. It was not long after my mom, sister, and I started spreading my advertisements that I received multiple messages from future customers inquiring about my services. In three short months, I earned over 400 dollars and never missed another social event.
Resolving to solve my economic issues through dog sitting transpired to be one of the most significant events of my life because I learned that I have to work hard to get what I want. When I needed funds that I did not have to attend activities with my friends, I earned money by creating my own business. I did not allow my obstacles to get the better of me. To this day, I am supporting myself with a self made occupation: very few 16-year-olds can claim that. I now aspire to be the owner of a large scale dog boarding kennel after I graduate high school. I hope that in the future, dog sitting is still a part of my life.