Building a Business and Bringing Home a Pet
Sometimes we don’t choose events — they choose us, even if the timing is less than ideal. Welcoming a new pet while you’re in the throes of starting a new business can seem like bad timing, but it doesn’t have to be. Set and keep realistic expectations, know when and where to ask for help, and take advantage of today’s technology created to help us juggle daily tasks. Before long you’ll both settle into a routine as companions and co-workers. You’ll also enjoy much-needed playtimes and social activities together.
Easing the intro
Ideally, you can welcome your new pet on a weekend when your mind isn’t filled with (as many) work responsibilities. Your pet may act nervous and uncertain for a few days, weeks, or possibly longer. This is particularly true of shelter animals. Change can lead to anxiety. Sometimes designating a room as “theirs” can help as they process the new experience. The more comfortable they get, the more you can expand their living area.
Letting the transition happen organically versus forcing it also gives you an opportunity to get some work done on your business startup. Take breaks to sit quietly in your pet’s living space for a few minutes each day. By creating a schedule of work for you, a regularly scheduled break time, and repeating these daily, you are helping to establish a routine for your new pet. This structure adds to their feelings of security — and helps you get much-needed work done.
Once your pet feels more comfortable at home, you can create space for them in or closer to your office. This is easier done in a home office, but many pet owners make it work in their out-of-home office space, as well — as long as your pet has adequate training to be in public places and around other people and pets.
There are some days when you can’t be around your pet 24/7. Particularly when just starting a new business, you need to be diligent about keeping appointments with prospective customers, financers, suppliers, or employees. There’s also the prospect of out-of-town, overnight business trips.
While boarding your pet at a reputable kennel — or your vet clinic, if they offer that service — is a good option for overnight trips, it doesn’t make sense for short business meetings. Fortunately, pet sitting services abound these days, with online portals (and apps) that make it easy to book a sitter. Most sites are diligent about the sitters who work for them, either matching one to you and your situation or allowing you to choose your own and schedule a “meet and greet” with your animal.
Even if you don’t need an all-day service, you can select someone to come by and simply walk your dog or play with your pet on those especially busy days or use a walk-only app for this service. And if you are scheduled to be gone overnight but worry about re-traumatizing your pet at a kennel, you can select a sitter who is available for overnight stays.
Since time is at a premium, apply time-saving techniques to your business responsibilities, as well. You will have to decide what business structure you’ll apply to your new business. A sole proprietorship is easy, but it exposes your personal assets to business debts and liabilities. A limited liability company (LLC) structure is popular with many new and small businesses versus a C or S corporation because of its flexibility, liability protection, and tax advantages — all with less paperwork.
Laws for setting up an LLC vary by state. You can do it yourself in Virginia, filing your paperwork with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. However, there are several steps you need to complete first. In the interest of saving time that you can spend on your business and with your new pet, delegate this task to an experienced business formation company. Your business will be formed legally, efficiently, and inexpensively compared to an attorney.
Enjoy your pet and make a profit
Once you get the framework in place for both your new pet and your business, both will flourish under a daily routine. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to feel the need to work all the time, but making time for yourself is good for you and your business. Having a furry friend helps remind you of that. Then make time for both of you to visit the Loudoun Pet Expo on September 12!