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Many of us Boomers who have worked for someone else for 20+ years are deciding that it’s now time to start a small business. I advise potential small business owners that if you want to start a business you have to really love what you’re doing, no matter what business you’re in.
As a small business owner, you will be “married” to the business for a number of years, 24 hours a day. You should plan on being the chief, cook, and bottle washer for some time. And remember, any sick days and vacation you take will have an effect on the amount of money you’ll make. Plus, the client comes first – usually when you want to do something else.
Having said all of that, operating a small business can be very rewarding in a number of ways. I have a “coaching” business that I do part-time and teach swimming and yoga among other things. I can do what I do for hours and not feel like I’m working, and yet generate some income. Thus, if starting a small business is right for you, then a business that may be of interest is starting a pet sitting business; that is if you really love caring for pets.
One of our Life Reimagined Employers for Work employers, Pet Sitters International, is an educational association for professional pet sitters. After talking to a couple of the reps there, it occurred to me that generating income from pet sitting might be a good home based business to start or something that someone in transition might want to consider. Again, you have to love pets! However, it would get you out of the house, allow you to expand your network, and generate some income.
If you live in a major metro area, you can probably see the opportunities. Usually early AM and early evenings is when I see the most dog walkers in my neighborhood. Also, I have colleagues who have to rush home to let the dog out or are somewhat constrained in their travel unless they find a neighbor, friend, or relative to look after their pet. Thus, the need seems to be there and the industry research indicates this is a growing industry.
Pet Sitters International has a lot of information on the industry and how to get started. You can download a free industry forecast here. If you think this might be of interest, you should do lots of homework and create a business plan so you can understand what your market is, your competition, what similar businesses are doing, and your revenue potential. Also, check out some of AARP’s information for Small Business Owners at www.aarp.org/startabusiness.
If you love pets and are not finding the “ideal” job, this may be an option for you to consider.
Let me know how you make out.