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Pet Sitters: Take Steps To Function At Your Best This Season

Taking care of yourself to ensure you can offer the best possible care to others is a reflection of your commitment.

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walking dog in holiday clothing

THE HOLIDAY SEASON — a time of year that means even longer hours and busier schedules for professional pet sitters and dog walkers — is fast approaching. This season may be especially busy as those cooped up by the pandemic eagerly make plans to visit family and friends.

Because pet sitting is in such high demand during the holidays, even the most conscientious business owners sometimes find themselves overbooked, overworked and overly tired. This is a dangerous combination that can lead to mistakes during visits, exhaustion for you and possible damage to your reputation.

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You’ve pursued a career you love and worked hard to build solid word-of-mouth — you owe it to yourself to take steps to ensure both you and your business are able to function at their best.

To combat burnout during the busy holidays, consider these tips:

Recognize your limitations. Determine, in advance, how many pet-care visits you (and your staff if applicable) can comfortably handle in a day without jeopardizing your health or the care provided. Only allot this number of spaces in your planner or online scheduling software. This way, you’ll be able to easily see when your company is reaching its max and be less likely to overbook.

Say “NO.” The holiday season typically starts with a rush of pet parents who have waited until the last minute to secure a sitter. Without fail, you will get requests from new clients who don’t realize the importance of booking early, but even long-term clients may be guilty of this. Remember, you do not have to accept an assignment. Don’t be afraid to let clients know you are already booked or turn down assignments that are not a good fit, for any reason. You can still leave the pet parent with a good impression of your business by referring them to another qualified professional pet sitter in your area or directing them to Pet Sitter International’s Pet Sitter Locator.

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Take time away from your business. No, I’m not joking. Even during the busy holiday season, you’ve got to have time to relax. Include “you time” in your daily schedule (schedule it just as you would an assignment) and find whatever helps you relax, whether it’s yoga, a nap or Facebook games. Remember, you also don’t have to forgo holiday celebrations. Allot a couple of hours in the afternoon for a meal with family and friends on holidays or schedule a celebration on an alternative day. Find a way to make it work. Otherwise, you’ll quickly grow resentful of your business and clients. Make sure to schedule your staff sitters in a way that allows them downtime as well.

Remember, taking care of yourself to ensure you can offer the best possible care to others is a reflection of your commitment to your clients, your pet-sitting business and the professional pet-sitting industry at large. And that is truly a gift that keeps on giving!

Beth Stultz-Hairston is the president of Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers. PSI offers members resources and support at every stage of their business.

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