By Cindy Aldridge
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Pet Partner: Building Your Business While Building a Life with a New Pet
Taking in a new pet involves an enormous commitment — so does starting a new business. Even so, it is possible to successfully fulfill both of these enormous (yet still magnificent) obligations. Besides, being an entrepreneur can often be a lonely and stress-laden endeavor, and what better way to enjoy some non-judgmental companionship and relieve some of that stress than with the unconditional love of a pet?
With some careful planning, and by taking advantage of a plethora of the resources outlined below by GoGo Stik, you can effectively build a business while creating a loving environment for your new pet.
Get the Best Match
You’ll set both you and your pet up for success if you start out with a good match. This involves more than just something akin to “swipe right” when you see something you like; you need to consider the practical aspects of your living environment, your activity level and lifestyle, your financial situation, and any allergies you or other members of your household (or office) may have. Since a cat’s living environment is relatively self-contained — particularly if you have a self-feeding and watering system — they can be a good option if your new business will require a lot of in-person meetings or business travel.
If you have your heart set on a dog, be sure to do your canine companion justice by taking into consideration breed traits such as energy level and even a propensity for health issues that could eat into both your time and your pocketbook. If you decide to adopt from a shelter or a rescue group, ask for an extended “meet and greet” period, or a trial visit. Another option is to provide a foster home for a pet. If you fall in love, you can join the ranks of the pet “foster fails.”
Training and Structure
Both you and your new pet’s transition will be easier once you have established some structure and a predictable routine, according to the American Kennel Club. This is much more easily accomplished for a dog if they receive appropriate training. Unless you have a great deal of experience in dog handling and training, send them to a professional. If your business start-up activities are too demanding for your full participation, look for turnkey training programs that fit your busy schedule.
Dog time suggests preparing a space or room in your home that becomes your pet’s comfort zone. At first, your dog may want to be near you; establishing a space where they can see you will likely be more soothing than having them in a separate room. If you take your pet to an out-of-home office, make sure they are properly socialized in case other animals are present. For dogs, you’ll want to make sure that they don’t bark excessively and disrupt others in the office.
Finding a structure that works isn’t confined to your pet’s transition. You need to consider transitioning your new business from your entrepreneurial roots as a sole proprietor (or partnership) to a well-suited business structure that will benefit you both personally and professionally. For many business owners, the answer is the limited liability company, or LLC. This formation protects you and your personal assets from liability while offering you tax advantages with less paperwork and more flexibility than other corporate structures. Simplify the process by using an online formation service like ZenBusiness, which walks you through the process.
Your Support Team
Whether it’s working late at the office, or business travel, there will be times when you will have to leave your pet. Have your pet care network in place before you get called away. Take advantage of the many pet walking and pet sitting apps for help. Consider using one on a regular basis so that a visitor coming to your home to feed your pet or walk your dog becomes a normal activity for your pet, instead of a suspicious or abnormal event.
Work and Play Go Together
Pets don’t know what it means to fail. That seems like appropriate reinforcement if you have any moments of self-doubt as you are building your business. Keep GoGo Stik bookmarked for more helpful tips and resources.