A Niche for Animal Lovers: Consider a Startup or Side Gig
If you’re considering a side gig or thinking about starting a small business, your chances at happiness and success are considerably better if you choose something you love doing and know well. That’s an easy decision if you love animals. Pet sitting or dog walking, selling pet-related products online, or launching a pet photography business offer considerable growth potential for someone who loves making pets and their owners happy.
Busy professionals who spend hours in the office or on the road building a successful career need the help of someone who will love and care for their dog or cat as much as they do. That’s what makes pet sitting the ideal business for someone who truly loves animals — you get to spend time making money while caring for other peoples’ pets.
Do you have a knack for salesmanship? If so, you can make a substantial income selling products targeted to dog and cat owners. Consider selling products, supplements, and treats directly to customers. Or, establish a sales network of your own and increase your earnings. If you decide to go into business independently, you can save considerably on time, space, and money by embracing the dropshipping model, which eliminates the need to maintain an inventory, thus increasing your profitability.
There is also a lucrative market for people who love to make their own pet products, which can be marketed to small boutique retail stores, at craft fairs, or on websites like Etsy or Amazon which can provide significant advantages because you can sell products directly to customers through a major distributor.
However, you choose to take your products to market, remember that one of the best ways to keep customers happy is to make it as easy as possible for them to pay. Consider accepting payments through Paypal or credit card. It’ll also be easier for you to maintain records and track profits.
If you have a good eye for composition and love working with animals, there’s a great gig waiting for you. Pet photography can be a lucrative side gig or start-up, especially during this time of year, when pet parents are decorating their homes and Christmas cards with images of four-legged friends in garlands or little Santa hats. You’ll need professional-grade photography equipment and a willingness to work in clients’ homes (the more flexible you are, the better). Bear in mind that many pet groomers, trainers, and pet shops also hire pet photographers for marketing and outreach initiatives, which means you can market your services to multiple audiences.
You Have an Idea — How Do You Get Started?
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get started. Begin with the people you know, such as pet owners you may have helped in the past. Chances are, they know other people whose pets sometimes need care. You can begin by reaching out to these families, ideally establishing ongoing, repeat customers who know and trust you. It’ll be a lot easier to get started with a core of customers who know you’re an animal lover and will take good care of their pets.
Set up a website that tells others about you and your experience with animals, what services you offer, and your prices. A website should always make a strong impression, so consider having yours professionally done. If you’re a pet sitter or pet photographer, a website can help you stay organized by creating a space for setting and changing client appointments.
According to Pet Sitters International, an estimated $72 billion will be spent on pets in the United States this year. Pet sitting, selling pet products, and pet photography are gigs with serious year-round earning potential. It’s a fun and profitable way to earn money doing something you love. The pet market is still a relatively untapped niche for innovators, so there are plenty of opportunities.
Featured image by Kaz
Guest Author: Jessica Brody
Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.