For three days this week, I watched over two young Boxers.
Other than learning that I don’t have the energy to own a puppy for longer than 3 days, I also figured out that I should have a pet sitting checklist for any future clients just to avoid some issues.
My Recent Pet Sitting Experience
These two pups didn’t have many of the issues on the list below, but I decided I should be thorough for the future. The male only had one main issue. He did not like being kenneled and would whine constantly. Some of my night was spent sleeping on a couch next to the Boxers’ kennel to keep the male quiet.
This little baby boy hated my Pug. Not too surprising since Mr. Pug was being grumpy too.
His little girl is the most laid back lap dog ever…she’s a cool chick. :-)
This little lady was adorable. She also wanted to be in everyone’s lap at all times. :-)
Overall, it was a very successful 3 days, but I am exhausted thanks to the weird sleeping arrangements. I hope their owner wants to use me again in the future over at his home. Anyway, onto my new official checklist of questions…
Pet Sitting Checklist
- Does your pet get along with small dogs?
- Is he/she aggressive towards anything?
- Is your pet up to date with all of their vaccinations?
- How active is your pet?
- Is your pet kennel trained? Specifically, is he/she okay in their kennel or does he/she fight it or whine while in it?
- Is he/she allowed on the furniture?
- Is your pet on any medication?
- Is your pet potty trained?
- What is your pet’s favorite toy or chew?
- Is your pet a grazer or do they get fed at certain times of the day?
What other questions do you think I’m missing? Help me out – this will be the list I ask all future clients before accepting a job. :-) I got lucky this time and was able to manage the cute puppies despite not knowing much about them in advance. Next time, I want to know as much as possible.
I’ve started to feel stagnant in the last few months. Usually that means that I need to tackle something new (as you’ll see below). Right now, I think that means growing my pet sitting side hustle/hobby job!
Past and Current Side Hustles / Hobby Jobs / Careers
I’ve mentioned these before, but I thought you would appreciate the list again if you missed it. I’ve been working in one way or another since middle school.
- Library volunteer in 6th grade ($0)
- Nursing home volunteer in 7th grade ($0)
- Historical museum volunteer in 8th grade ($0)
- Babysitting in middle school and high school ($5 an hour)
- English Tutor in Argentina during late high school ($0 – volunteer)
- Pawn reseller during late high school ($15-$60 per ring) – I would buy rings from the “new and crazy” arena of online auctions in 1998 (like Bidz) and resell those rings to the local pawn shops.
- Dorm 24-hour help desk ($6 an hour) – I actually met Mr. BFS at this job one late night when I pulled him over to keep me company. Found out later that he kept walking by since he was trying to think of something to say, lol. He’s lucky I am social and get bored easily, hahaha.
- Dorm tour guide ($6 an hour) – This was boring and required a lot of walking. Parents also always seemed surprised that dorm rooms are small. Note to all parents – dorm rooms are small and most teenagers don’t care. You can eat, sleep, and hang out…don’t need much space for that.
- University of Houston donation center caller ($6.50 an hour and it sucked for 2.5 months before I quit) – I don’t know how many people hung up on me while saying that they worked for Enron and couldn’t afford anything, much less donations.
- University of Houston Games Room Attendant ($6.25 an hour and I did it for 3 years) – This was AWESOME. Made some great friends and am just super lucky to have ever gotten this position so I could leave the donation center.
- University of Houston Admin Office Assistant ($6.25 an hour for 2.5 years at the same time I worked the Games Room) – This was a great filler position, especially during the summers.
- Black Jack Dealer for Company Parties ($11 an hour but travel time didn’t count..overlapped with my last year of college) – I worked a bunch of company and private parties throughout Houston. It wasn’t as fun as real gambling, like at www.888casino.com/casino-games, but it was a great Friday and Saturday night job throughout my last year of school and first couple of years after graduation.
- Tax Office Receptionist ($7 an hour) - This one overlapped with the Games Room and the Black Jack Dealing for my last semester of college…had 12 hours of classes and 60+ hours of part-time jobs, lol.
- Forms programmer ($26,500-$35,500 a year over 6 years) – That job was pointless but I met a handful of amazing people, and the free time there did lead me to find out about blogging. So yay!
- Pet Sitting on and off for years ($20 per dog per night) – My favorite puppy to watch was Asia the Shar-Pei.
- Baby Sitting on and off ($10 an hour for two kids) – This lasted for about 6 days in one month. Then the kids started acting out since their mom left so often to be with her boyfriend.
- Baby Sitting ($20 an hour for three kids) – This was for a full weekend. I’m looking forward to continuing.
- Blogging and Blog Advertising Management ($100,000+ per year now) – This is by far the best job that I’ve ever had. It fits with my leap frog brain activity and lets me have the flexibility to actually live. The money is nice but the real benefits aren’t monetary. It’s nice to have a job that just finally fits me and not the other way around.
Pet Sitting Again
As you saw, I’ve been a pet sitter and baby sitter on and off for more than 15 years. I posted a classified ad on our home owner’s association (HOA) website last August. It’s been so long that I nearly forgot. But I received a call last Thursday to check in once a day with two new, super cute dogs in the neighborhood for a couple of months. Woot!
That gave me the inspiration I needed to tackle pet sitting all out. I updated my HOA website ad, added a cool picture of me and my mom’s parrot (Penny), and then listed myself on Craigslist too. That’s where I found pet sitting jobs a few years ago.
My Pet Sitting Post
Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting – Petsitter / Pet Sitter Available
Welcome to Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting! I’m self-employed and available during the day or night for pet-sitting in Northwest Houston, Spring, the Woodlands, etc.
As for experience:
- I’ve taken care of dozens of dogs through volunteer work and pet sitting.
- We have our own dog, an 11 year old Pug.
- We were just forced to say goodbye to our 15 year old Dachshund that we had for nearly 9 years.
- I’ve volunteered for 2 years with the Houston SPCA (worked the big dog section and worked with puppies and cats if anyone was ill)
- We fostered Pugs for 1.5 years before we adopted ours.
- I regularly pet sit two other Dachshunds and one cat.
- I’m adding two Shiba Inu pups to my upcoming schedule.
- In the past, I’ve watched over a variety of birds, dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs. The largest has been a 140 pound Mastiff. The smallest was a finch.
I can visit your home 1-3 times a day as needed. If you would prefer to drop off your pet at my home instead, we can work out those details too on a case by case basis. I cannot accept cats in my own home thanks to allergies.
My rates would depend on the circumstances of the job for which you need me. In general, it would be $15-$20 per visit depending on how many animals are in the home.
Please call between 10am-10pm or email me anytime with questions or to schedule a meeting. Thanks!
I posted that ad Friday night and received my first call Sunday morning. I’ll be taking care of two boxers this Tuesday-Thursday, whoo-hoo!!! I love it when my ideas start working quickly. But, I want to make sure that I am communicating well to as many people who see the ad as possible.
If you were just browsing Craigslist for pet sitting ideas, what else would you need to see before you’d contact me? What would you suggest adding or taking out? What do you think about my new page – http://www.dogslifeforme.com/crystals-cozy-care/? All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
My friend, Dee, is a very dedicated middle school art teacher. She approached me a few weeks ago about being a speaker at their upcoming “Career Day” in early March. It sounds like a great idea, so now I have to come up with a 30 minute presentation about my career. I’ve done something similar for #FinCon12, so hopefully I just won’t crack in front of middle schoolers. Here’s what I need to cover.
Points I’ve Been Asked to Cover
- My title.
- Length of time in my position.
- Training, education, or background needed for my job.
- Three important duties of my job.
- Whether or not I wear a uniform.
- Talk about equipment or tools needed for my job.
- What do I like most about what I do.
- What kind of benefits I get (like insurance, traveling, etc.).
- What’s one thing that I would like to change.
- A funny or unusual story about my job.
- What other job I could get with my training/experience.
My Presentation So Far
I am creating a PowerPoint presentation that includes the points above. I’m also highlighting a few general pros and cons of self-employment. For example, you have to find your own insurance, pay more in taxes, and deal with income instability. But I also get to point out the flexibility, sense of empowerment, and working in your pajamas all day kicks butt. As the personal finance geek that you all know, I’m also making sure to include a huge section about the importance of diversification and paying attention to their futures.
What else should I include? From a kid’s point of view, what should I talk about? From a parent’s point of view, what would you hope I highlight?
Hey guys! Okay, so I’ve been promising myself to start adding a few of my own videos to this site via my Crystal Stemberger YouTube Channel. BUT, like any average person, I’ve procrastinated. Now I’ve made a video, but it’s definitely not perfect. I’ll work on that for the next one, but if I don’t publish it ASAP, I’ll just keep putting it off. So here it is – a slow day in the life of a self-employed me.
If you rather not watch 4 minutes of me walking around my house, here are the basics:
Noon to 12:15pm - Wake up and throw on sweats and a t-shirt
12:15pm to 2pm – Answer Emails
2pm to 2:30pm – Lunch
2:30pm to 6pm – Answer Emails, Write Blog Posts, Freelance Work
6pm to 11pm – Hang out with hubby, friends, do fun stuff online, etc.
11pm to 3am – Answer Emails Again, Finish Anything Not Already Done
3 to 4am – Go to bed
On busier days, I wake up earlier and work through the hang out time in the evening. Overall my normal time spent working every day ranges between 8-12 hours. I cut that back to 3-4 hours a day on the weekend.
How does your normal day look?
Need Your Help!
I do want to do more videos, but I want them to NOT suck. So, I need your help. First of all, what would you want to hear/see about from me? I need topic ideas so I can jump in. Secondly, what did you like most about this video? What did you like the least? With your feedback, I can get better.
First of all, can you believe Budgeting in the Fun Stuff is 4 years old this month?! Or that I’ve been self-employed for more than 2.5 years already?! I know it’s cliche, but it is scary how fast years can feel. Let’s see what self-employment has taught me so far…
Right now, I am living with almost no routine and it is exhausting. My best schedule in the last few years was to work Mondays-Thursdays from 9am-noon, 2pm-5pm, and 9pm-midnight. Then I would cover anything left over whatever hours were needed from Friday-Sunday. When I wasn’t working, I could catch up with stuff around the house, errands, or hang out with friends. Without the routine, I am fitting my 6-9 hours a day into the wee hours of the morning before I finally let myself go to sleep.
Flexibility is awesome but holidays aren’t for the self-employed.
I can work from pretty much anywhere at pretty much any time. But I get business emails every day of the year. Hubby and I allow ourselves to be completely unplugged for a total of about 2 weeks a year (a 1 week vacation and several long weekends). But that still means that we have at least a couple of hours of work on every major holiday. I like the trade-off but I could see it not working for some people.
Don’t let anything build up.
If I ever miss more than a week of emails, I don’t know if it would be possible to catch up in any reasonable amount of time. If I blow off life stuff during a busy business week, it’s hard to catch up there too. In short, self-employment is about juggling your life successfully on a constant basis. If you stop for long, the momentum is completely lost.
Having a life matters.
The weeks that I sort of forget about the rest of the world generally are the most depressing times of my life. When you work from home, you can forget to have a life. Don’t. If you allow yourself to become a hermit, you start missing out on the fun stuff in life that you are working to afford anyway. It’s important to remember your life’s priorities like friends and family…make sure they are a part of your life no matter how busy you get.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You will never be completely done with everything on your job or home to-do list. That is okay. Cover the big stuff and just let the small stuff slide to the side. You can tackle the least important items little by little with free time that can span over your whole year.
Are you considering self-employment? Any lessons that stick out for you? Any questions?
Someone asked me if I missed having a “real” day job last week. Honestly, there are things I miss about it, but those are heavily outweighed by the things I don’t miss at all.
Benefits I Miss About My Last Cubicle Job:
- Better health and dental insurance – cost less and covered more.
- Cheaper term life insurance.
- My 401k with 100% matching up to 6%.
- Stability – I knew I had a job as long as I wanted it where I was.
- The fantasy football league that I kept winning despite not caring about football at all – that was always fun.
Things That I Don’t Miss At All:
- Commuting – that by itself makes working from home worth it.
- Being treated like an actual “human resource” – an entity instead of a person – by the company’s leaders.
- Making $35,000 a year before taxes. I know now that I can make more than that in several ways by working for myself.
- Stupid meetings – what a waste of time.
- Business jargon. I just shook my head and laughed to myself when the management would call everyone together for stupid meetings and spout off business jargon left and right that didn’t have a point. Along those lines, here’s an infographic that made me laugh.
What do you think you would miss or do miss about a classic day job? What do you like or think you would like about self-employment?
GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! Congrats to Sarah and Helen!!!
The following is a guest post from Mich & Nadine, the husband+wife team behind Cupcake Makeover. The shop is the fusion of Mich’s technical experience from blogging in the past few years with Nadine’s passion for unique and adorable designs. A mom of 2 twin girls, Nadine has been enjoying party planning for the past 7 years. Mich has been a blogging buddy of mine for a while. Good luck guys!
Choosing the Passion
The hardest part of starting your own business is finding something you like to do; a passion or a talent that you can monetize. That was never an issue with my wife; she is creative and equipped with the proper graphic design skills. But most importantly, she has a blast when it comes to planning our kids’ birthdays. For the past few years, she’s been asked on every birthday why she doesn’t monetize her skills by offering her services.
How could she do that when she has 2 young kids to take care of along with a job during the day?
Getting it Going
We were always part of those people who dreamt of running their own business yet always had a reason to avoid taking that first step. However, she really wanted to! She’d been itching for some way that would allow her to do what she loves and profit from it. She certainly has the skills and the talent, these were never missing. What she was missing was the technical expertise to step into the world market of the internet. This is where I stepped in as I developed this knowledge over the past few years.
She was finally able to have her store on the internet as we took the plunge and started our small business by launching an online party supplies store: Cupcake Makeover. It was the result of combining her passion with my technical background in building and running websites. It’s the perfect business marriage, one that took a few years to materialize.
Taking that step required a high level of dedication as there’s an extremely competitive market out there. Your passion for something is often not enough to start a small business unless you believe you can do better than everyone out there. This is what I meant by having a high level dedication, prior to starting a business you need to study the market to know who you’re competing against. And in the party supplies segment, the competition is disheartening.
Yet that did not deter my wife from her decision, I did my part by setting up the store and after a few late nights she started rolling out her designs. She had jumped right into the fire by starting her work on a superhero party theme; this is one of the most popular (and competitive) party themes out there. She created all the coordinating supplies for a number of superhero sets from cupcake toppers & wrappers to treat boxes, party favors to food labels and everything in between.
Then we received that first order and it was a memorable experience. The feeling is weird, making $10 dollars from your own work beats making $100 from a regular job working for someone else. The money is just more rewarding. With the initial orders rolling in, my wife was also able to put her biggest fears to rest. She has been very worried about customer satisfaction; the recurring positive feedback from customers finally eliminated that anxiety.
Her work has paid off!
To celebrate, I’m sponsoring a $50 giveaway (two $25 certificates) for free stuff from http://cupcakemakeover.com/shop/! This will run from today through September 15, 2013. Crystal will let me know who wins. Use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway