Jill Johnson, owner of Little Paws Cat Sitting, started her business both out of a love of cats and out of necessity.
After Jill and her wife adopted two rescue cats from Ladybird Animal Sanctuary, one of the cats ended up requiring insulin shots twice daily. Whenever the couple wanted to go away on vacation, they found it near impossible to find a friend of family who was willing to learn how to administer their cat’s necessary shots. Unable to find someone to care for their cat, they had to medically board him – resulting in expensive bills and a vacation that couldn’t be fully enjoyed, knowing their little furry friend was not enjoying himself. Jill found herself wondering if there were people out there in the same situation. Thus, Little Paws Cat Sitting was conceived.
About the Business
Little Paws Cat Sitting provides daily cat sitting, where furry family members are able to experience a “staycation” while their owners are on vacation. No more stressful medical-boarding! Visits by Little Paws can include everything from feeding, cleaning litter and giving medications to watering plants, taking in mail, and occasionally looking after chemicals in a pool or hot tub. Daily, clients receive updates and photos of their feline friends and can take comfort in knowing that the cats are being kept as close to their regular routine as possible.
After starting a Facebook page for the company, Jill acquired her first client within days. She initially had hoped that when she retired she would have enough clientele to keep her busy in retirement, but found herself truly shocked at just how much demand there was for cat sitting – “not only just for cats with medical needs, but for people that would just felt more comfortable with having their kitties stay at home.” Within the second year, her clientele had doubled, and she had to start enlisting help. Eventually, working her full-time photography job and running her business became too much and she decided to jump into Little Paws Cat Sitting full-time.
Now in their fourth year, the business services over 400 clients and is fully-bonded, insured and registered with an incredibly strong team of cat and animal lovers.
Future for the Company
When asked about where she sees Little Paws Cat Sitting going, Jill says “I can only foresee growth. We have already expanded into Milton and Brantford, however, each area only with limited service. I want to be sure to slowly introduce these areas, as my worst fear is to bite off more than I can chew.” Jill would also love to hire some more staff, to free up a bit of her time and be able to take more “me” time, as launching her own successful business hasn’t allowed for much.
Jill’s advice to those starting their own business? Be the kind of manager or employer you wish you had when you were working for someone else, stay organized right from the start, be prompt in responding to inquiries, and keep your website and social media current and up to date. She also believes in paying a living wage, which she says “results in fantastic work ethic, caring and dedicated employees and in turn results in happy customers.”
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