Welcome back to PetBrainy! We’ve got a surprise for you this week. A very personal message about the history of our founder, Shelley Beyer. It is a story that is very near and dear to our hearts here at PetBrainy because this is how it all started! So, if you’re thinking about starting a pet sitting business, then you know it can be a little scary as you prepare for that transition. It wasn’t easy for Shelley either. Here is her story, straight from the heart.
How I Ended up Starting a Pet Sitting Business
One of the things that people often ask is, when is the right time to quit your nine to five job? Now, this is going to be different for everybody. I cannot answer that for you, but what I can do is share my story about how I decided to quit my nine to five job. Let me give you a bit of a backstory. First, I will share a little bit of my job history, and that will help you understand why I quit my job.
I originally came from the mortgage industry. In that job, I helped people get home loans and loved it because it gave me so much freedom – it was almost like it was running my own business! Of course, I worked for another company, but when you’re a loan officer, you have so much autonomy because you’re building your book of business. I honestly enjoyed that aspect of it.
Then I met my husband, and he was in the mortgage industry too. We had an immediate connection. As soon as we met, I knew that he was the one, and we ended up getting married. Very soon after, along came my son Nicholas. At that point, I decided that I wasn’t going to work anymore. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It was extremely rewarding but- challenging at the same time. Anybody that’s a stay at home mom understands the pain that I’m talking about. But I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did; I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
My First Business Venture
In 2008, the housing market took a big dive, and the whole mortgage industry fell apart. My husband lost his job – we had no income coming in. At this point, he decided that he wanted to open a short sale business because we knew the mortgage industry very well. So, we started our short-sale negotiation company.
It was quite successful, and I really loved it because I got to build a business and get very good at marketing. Not to mention, I had so much fun doing it. But then the State of Oregon changed its laws, and it affected our business. It made us rethink our entire business. Should we be doing this? There were so many regulations that it became very nerve-wracking. We ended up deciding to close the business.
At that point, I decided to go back to work – and I would to take anything at that point. Because neither of us were working. JB, my husband, was winding the business down, and I started looking for a job. That’s when I remembered…
How a Little Red Barn Changed My Life
When I moved to my little hometown, there was a building off to the right-hand side of the highway. It was a quaint red barn building, and it always caught my eye when I would drive past it. For years I saw this building, and I would always look up at it. Eventually, I found out it was a veterinary hospital.
Little did I know that the little building tucked away on the side of the road was going to change my life forever.
They were hiring a receptionist when I needed a job, so I decided to go ahead and apply. After an interview, I got the job- but they never mentioned what the pay would going to be! When they told me the wage, my jaw dropped, and not in a good way. I came from the mortgage industry, where I made thousands of dollars a month, and this little veterinary hospital offered me $9.25 an hour. Oh my gosh, I thought, am I really going to take this job for $9.25 an hour? But at that point, some money beat no money. We had no other income, so I decided to go ahead and take it.
I Rocked The Boat
At the month review, the doctor called me into his office, and he asked me, “What do you see would make my business better?” I looked at him, and I said, “Do you really want to know?” Because I saw so many things that we could change in that office. They had no systems in place. In fact, they were still making appointments in a paper book even though they had a computer system! Nobody knew how to use it. I could not believe it!
It was as hard to believe as what happened next. “Go ahead and make the changes.” He was willing to let me go ahead and make the changes, even as new as I was. I started looking at EVERYTHING. That included getting the manual for their computer system and read it from cover to cover. Then, I dug in deep, and figured out how to improve all of this.
I started making changes, and of course, that rubbed everybody the wrong way. Nobody enjoys change. They honestly didn’t like me very much. Remember, I had only been there a month. They didn’t really like me. It hurt my feelings, but at the same time, I just kept moving forward. I knew the changes would be beneficial for everybody if they would just give them a chance. So, I powered through and spent about two years putting all of their systems in place. While I was charge of the computers and everything, I even built their website. I fundamentally changed that business, and it was a marvelous journey. All because the doctor gave me so much freedom to do whatever I saw fit. I loved him for that because it helped me grow so much.
The End of an Era
Then everything changed for me- the doctor hired his daughter to come in and manage the office. I went from having a lot of autonomy to make creative solutions and improve the systems to having somebody over me. It changed things. I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do anymore, which I totally understood. He needed to put a manager in place and all of that. So I understood that, but it became more draining and less fun.
It wasn’t that we didn’t get along. But as I kept trying to do my job, I found myself looking around and realizing… I did not feel fulfilled quite as much. So, I set a goal to become Practice Manager. At that point, they did not even have that position. They only had a front office manager and a back-office manager and then Megan, who ran the office. So, we reorganized the whole structure to make the position! It was everything I thought I wanted.
I thought I would be happy, but I found that I hated my job and not because of any of the people or anything. The autonomy to create was still missing, and so was my satisfaction
So I Took The Plunge
By now, I had been there for about six years, and I would have done anything for that place. I treated that business as if it were my own. My husband kept saying to me, “Why are you putting all of your heart and soul into somebody else’s business when you could create your own business?”
As soon as he said it, I knew he was right. I had tons of skills. I could definitely create my own business, but I was not sure what that business would look like. Until one of the managers that worked under me came to me and said…
“Shelley, what do you think about starting a pet transport business?”
That was the missing piece. I started thinking – that might be a viable business. We got so many requests, and it would be amazing because we can still work with animals. So, we decided to go ahead and start a company. Before too long, I found that my ‘partner’ was not really into the work of starting a business. She was just at a point in her life where she needed a stable job for her and her daughter. There is a big difference between the two. Obviously, we did not end up going into business together.
That wasn’t going to stop me. I took the ball and kept rolling with it anyway!
My Own Pet Sitting Business?
Even though I’d made my decision, I needed some time to get it up and going, and I wasn’t quite ready to quit my job. My handprint was all over that office, and I would be leaving some big shoes to fill. I wanted to give them plenty of time to hire somebody else and trained them to do all the various things I did.
So I decided to give the office three months notice because I thought that would provide all of us time to get our act together. I also knew that I needed a time limit because that office was just a little bit too comfortable for me. It would have been so easy for me to continue doing what I was doing and not actually leave. So when I gave them notice, I knew I had a deadline.
I realized during those three months that just pet transport wasn’t going to be enough business, so I expanded my vision to include pet sitting. Then, I finished everything I needed to do, even the website. On March 10th, I opened my business.
Thankfully, my husband had a job now. We still had money coming in, but we still needed my income a little bit for our household. So, I knew I had to get everything up and going- for my family.
That’s My Start In The Pet Sitting Business
That’s my story. I am probably not the norm, and I’m not telling you to do what I did. It’s scary taking the plunge and believing in yourself. Sometimes in order to give your 110% to something like this, you have to light a fire under your butt to get you going. Because like I said, if you’re too comfortable, then it’s easy to stay where you’re at. I thought that my story might help you light that fire for yourself.
So good luck. I’m excited about your journey. I know that deciding when to quit your nine to five job is a big step. But as I said, sometimes you have to trust in yourself and know that you can do it. Trust in yourself, you can do amazing things, I promise.
The Heart of PetBrainy
You can see why we at PetBrainy are so passionate about what we do. Our founder has never let that fire go out for her. She built her pet sitting business and has made it her mission to help fan the flames for pet people just like you. PetBrainy is here to help light the way, but we couldn’t do it without the spectacular Shelley Beyer and the journey she went through to get to where she is today. For more about Shelley, click here.
But her story doesn’t end here! Next week, we’ll tackle the most critical part of starting a business- getting your first few clients. So check in next week for the next installment in Shelley Beyer, Pet Sitting Extraordinaire: The First Ten Clients!
If you’re ready to trust yourself and follow your fire, sign up for the waitlist by entering your information below.