Conquer the cost of living crisis in your pet service business with Bella Vasta

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Want to know how to conquer the cost of living crisis for your pet business?

Bella Vasta is a pet sitter turned marketing coach and she has over two decades experience in running a thriving business.

She’s battled through several recessions and economic crashes, the Coronavirus pandemic, political upheaval and much more in her own business and supporting others.

In this episode she’s sharing her no fluff advice on how you can weather the storm of the cost of living crisis.

And how actually, we should always be prepared for something to come along and throw a spanner in the works.

Running a business is a rollercoaster but there are things you can do to make sure you can enjoy the highs and keep going in the lows.

Listen in on the podcast player below or carry on reading the key points covered as a blog post.

 Hi Bella, tell me about your background?

“I’m based in Phoenix, Arizona, and I’ve been in the industry for 20 years. I started pet sitting and dog walking in 2002 as a way to get out of my parents house when I was in college. 

“By 2007, I was winning awards nationally and locally award winning and people started asking, ‘how do I do what you do?’

“So I started coaching and sold my pet sitting company in 2016, having gone all in with the coaching and created a massive business with a team all over the world.

“We have a mastermind, a podcast, a marketing agency, and I also do one on one intensives or coaching packages as well.

You’ve been through a lot of uncertain times and periods of upheaval, how did you cope?

“Definitely, I had the most expensive company by 10 US dollars back in 2008 when the markets crashed. I held tight to Dan Kennedy’s theory which was to ‘market to the affluent.’ 

“The businesses that are going after the middle class or trying to be the cheapest or the most available, they’re never going to win in the downturn economy. 

“The thing one thing that we can guarantee is that the economy is never going to be healthy and awesome all the time. It is going to ebb and flow. 

“And if you have a long term business, you’re gonna have to ride those waves. 

“So in 2008 I said, ‘All right, people are scared to spend money, they need a guarantee. So I said, ‘We are guaranteed to be the best value for pet sitting in the entire valley.’ 

“I leveraged all of my networking community, and I had them give me free things, coffee, pizza, car washes, house organisation, all kinds of stuff.

“These businesses just wanted to get in front of people, and they were willing to give me something for free. So you signed up and I gave you $1,500 worth of free services.”

I love this, what’s your advice for people in the current climate?

“With everything in business, it always goes back to your mindset. If you think you’re going to fail, you see more problems than solutions, you’re going to fail.

“But if you understand why you do what you go, you know your numbers, you reverse engineer your marketing to support your numbers and your why, then it makes all the difference.

“Don’t watch the news, it’s depressing, it puts you in a state of fear, think, ‘I need to protect my mental state.’

“Be tenacious, keep going, figure out what you can control. How can you be unique? How can you look at your marketing and have a different message so you stand out?

“How can you sell your unique services? Your value proposition and not the industry? So many people are selling the industry all day long and they don’t stand out.

“Think about who you want your clients to be. The upper echelon, the people who are going to be more stable? Who think, ‘no matter what my dog is going to eat before I eat?’ 

“Or do you want the penny pincher, coupon clipping, chasing after the next best deal kind of person? It comes down to what do you want? How are you going to build it?”

And peoples needs change as well don’t they?

“Yes, remember in 2020 when we were all at home on Zoom, there were two groups in the dog walking and pet sitting industry, the ones who adapted and who didn’t.

“The ones who didn’t get on board with virtual consultations had a severe dip. The ones who did, who marketed to the Zoom-a-holics whose dogs wanted walking while they were on calls for 10 hours a day and didn’t want them barking, they thrived.

“You’ve got to understand what people’s problems are and pain points and adapt.”

If people want to get this information, how do they go about it?

“Every single time you talk to your client, just ask, ‘what made you choose us today?’ Most of the time, they’re already telling you, you just have to be conscious.  

“This is a human doing business with human, it’s not a business to consumer. So take a step outside of yourself, talk, and be a human. I know that people would rather text or email. 

“When it comes to things like pet sitting and dog walking, when you’re sleeping in people’s beds, you have a key to their home, people want to talk to you, especially if they’re over the age of 45, they just need that reassurance.”

There’s also opportunity with the huge growth of the pet population

(Spending on pets and pet related products in the UK was 9.3 billion in the UK in 2021 compared to 4.5 billion in 2011. In America, pet industry expenditure reached 123 billion in 2021 compared to 51 billion in 2011. )

“Yes, I love that you have those stats. I don’t think you’re allowed to freak out professionally unless you’ve been tracking things. 

“It’s an emotional freak out, it’s no different than a child having a tantrum. And that might be hard for people to swallow. But you have a business, act like a business owner, not like a child.

“It’s going to be hard. And you know what, this is probably going to happen again. So are you going to figure it out? Or are you going to fold?”

So for pet businesses who want to stand out, to come out stronger, what would you say?

“Work on yourself development, surround yourself by people doing what you want to do. Run like the plague from those Facebook groups of people cackling and being negative.

“Find a community of people doing things and not making excuses people that are having challenges but they’re overcoming them.

“With every challenge they have, they have two solutions for they’re actively moving forward. 

“They’re connected to their vision. Protect your eyes, protect your ears, be a leader over your own life.” 

Want to find out more about Bella?  

Check out her website where you’ll find her podcast, Better Business with Bella: https://jumpconsulting.net/

Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bellavasta

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting


Enjoyed this episode? You might like How to future proof your pet business with Lucy Rennie or How to get out your own way with Osmaan Sharif

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