SARI REIS, 68 | $40,000 a year
Home: San Diego
Previous life: Organizational trainer
Why she did it: I have always had a huge passion for animals. Nonprofit organizations did not pay enough, and neither did veterinary practices, so I decided to start my own business.
How she succeeded: I looked into pet sitting and dog walking by contacting different companies in the area, emailing each and asking to meet for coffee. I met with several of them, and they gave me great advice on what the public was looking for in a sitter. I got insurance, and pet-first-aid certified. And I joined Pet Sitters International, a trade group that provides education on animals and information on how to set up a pet-sitting business. I made my own website, and handed out my business card at pet-friendly apartments and condos, as well as to dog groomers. After a few months, I got my first client, and I was ecstatic. Today I have five employees and a business that brings in $165,000 a year (and growing).