I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I had no idea that I would become an entrepreneur and business owner in the process. My own mom stayed home taking care of me, and that was the lifestyle that I imagined for myself and my own family. Caring for kids was a passion of mine growing up, and that was one of the main reasons I went into elementary school teaching. I thought I’d have a career working with others’ kids until I was lucky enough to have my own. So I got my teaching certification and dove head-on into the profession. But by the end of my first year I quickly discovered that teaching was not my life-long calling. Something was missing.
I wanted a career where I woke up each morning excited about the day, looking forward to Mondays (if that’s possible!), rather than spending Sunday nights dreading the coming week. As a teacher I had the summers off, and for a busy-body like me, it was the perfect time to explore other interests and career paths. I tried a variety of things from blogging to making crafts to sell, but nothing seemed to stick. I’d always loved pets, and had 3 dogs of my own, so finally I decided to offer pet sitting and dog walking services during the times of years when I was off from teaching. I created a website to advertise my services, and about a month later I got my first inquiry about pet sitting for a cat while the family vacationed in Europe for the summer. It kind of caught me off guard, and I was scrambling to create client forms and everything else I needed to take on my first client, and not make it obvious that they were indeed my FIRST client!
At that point, I had no expectations for where pet sitting and dog walking could take me. Truthfully I wasn’t really thinking of it as a “business” yet. It was just something I could do on the side to make a little extra spending money. But soon the summer arrived, people were taking vacations, and the inquiries started rolling in. I found that I wasn’t able to do all of the visits myself, so I brought on our first pet sitter to help me. About that time I realized that I really was running a business, and I absolutely LOVED it! I’d never had any type of business training in my life, so I was devouring anything I could get my hands on related to business development, marketing, sales, and leading a team.
For the next 4 years I continued teaching full time, while running my business on the side. I’d get up early in the morning to make visits before heading to school. I’d spend hours each evening responding to client inquiries and scheduling visits. Weekends and holidays were often full to the brim with pet sitting while also trying to keep on top of grading papers and lesson plans. In the meantime I steadily grew our pet sitting and dog walking team up to a group of 10 pet loving ladies, which allowed me to step back from making so many visits myself. I was able to work more on the business, rather than in it, taking a managing role. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but I had a goal in mind. I was ready to be done with teaching and be able to devote myself to the business. It’s a scary step to take – to quit a steady job and be completely self-employed. The birth of my daughter is what finally made me take that leap of faith.
I now have a 14 month old daughter that I am able to stay home with and be a full-time mom. I love my lifestyle, and couldn’t have imagined that the little “side job” I stumbled upon could have turned into what it is today. I’m still up early in the morning before my daughter wakes up to get in a couple hours of work, and nap times are spent responding to client emails and phone calls, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love having another outlet for my passions outside of being a mom, and in a way my business is like my second “baby.” I enjoy caring for it and watching it grow. I never imagined myself being an entrepreneur and business owner, but now I know it is definitely the life for me!
How many of you out there are entrepreneurs and are running a business while taking care of your little ones? I’d love to hear about your business in the comments below. Feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page so we can check you out!
Hey, I’m Summer! I’m an East Tennessee native that currently calls Fountain City home, along with my husband, 14 month old daughter, and three dogs. Five years ago I started an in-home pet care company, Waggy Tails Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, while still teaching fulltime. My company has grown in ways I near expected, and I’m now a full time entrepreneur business owner, while being a stay at home mom to our daughter. For me, it’s the best of both worlds!