Monday, February 2, 2004

Alligator Wrestling

There are those who do well in structured atmospheres, knowing exactly what to expect each moment of each day.  They are content in knowing they go to work, they do their job, they get paid and they go home.  There's comfort in the feeling of security.

Then there are those who would rather wrestle alligators than have to punch a timeclock. I fall under this category. I thrive on the flexibility and the spontaneity of an inconsistent work schedule.

I like the idea that I can get a call at any moment to take a dog on a last-minute walk.  Or petsit for someone going out of town.  That's cash in my pocket.  There are incentives to being self-employed.  The more dogs I walk the more money I make.  Whereas, at a nine-to-five, the more paper I push, I still bring home the same amount of money.

When I first started dogwalking, my business exploded.  In the first year I was making double the money in half the time it took me as a full-time Administrative Assistant.  It was consistent.  I could go out to dinner, get my hair done, buy gifts and pay all my bills!

After five years of consistent dogwalking, I was ready for another change.  So in January 2001 I gave up my business to set forth on an adventure across country.  I returned six months later, refreshed and ready to walk dogs again.  I was stunned to find out the market was saturated with new [inexperienced] dogwalkers who were charging five and ten dollars more per walk.  A month later, we were hit with the tragic events of 9/11.  Many people lost their jobs and their dogwalkers were the first of the personal services to be let go.

For the past three years, in addition to dogwalking, I've been doing odd jobs, temping, house cleaning, running errands, anything to make ends meet.  And frankly, my ends couldn't be farther apart!  So, what does this mean?

I see dogwalkers every day.  None of them have less than six dogs at a time.  Many have more than ten.  Depending on the day, I have one to five.  Business is picking up.  The kicker is, I know I can make a full day's pay in two hours as a dogwalker.  That, and the fact that I love the work, is what keeps me wrestling with alligators.

 

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36 comments:

robbygoe said...

Huh it's raining there. Not here. Anyways, yes I could never live by a time clock, and I don't want to have to listen to anyone telling me how to do a job. It's to bad your business has slowed. LOL Now what kind of marketing do you do anyways?

robbygoe said...

Okay it's raining

diannevan said...

"Business is picking up" - man, I hope that translates into more income for you.

viviansullinwank said...

Guess I'm one of those who does well in a structured atmosphere...been with the same company for 27 years...got lucky got a great job with great perks...now looking forward to retiring from there and wrestling my own alligators :)

krobbie67 said...

I'm half way between you and total paper pushing cog in the wheel kind of structure. I need some kind of structure though. I love to work. Hey, the economy out here is finally starting to get better so I'm sure you're going to be getting more and more business. So, keep wrestlin' dem gators! ;-) ---Robbie

musenla said...

I've never been a hired employee in my whole life (right now I get a fixed amount of pay, but I'm part owner of the business) so I know what you mean! My day is more structured than it used to be, but I still have the flexibility of taking off if I really have to. It's great that business is picking up again for you!

wayoutdacloset said...

I THINK I FALL INTO THE LINE OF A ALLIGATOR WRESTLER..LOL.. I AM SO SPONTANIOUS AND IHATE WHEN SOMEONE ASKING WHERE YOU GOING? UMM ANYWHERE I FEEL LIKE IS THE ANSWER MOST TIMES...BUT YES I LIKE FREEDOM OF DOING WHAT EVER WHEN EVER AND ABLE TO MAKE MY OWN HOURS. SO ROUND ME UP A TEN FOOTER TO WRASTLE. ~BERLY

freeepeace said...

Robby - You got mail. Any suggestions? MarketingTips101 :) And I'll bet it's pouring now! My recording session was cancelled cuz of the sound of rain on the roof.

DiAnne - YAY, I wrote a comment-worthy entry! :P I'm hoping for that same translation: more income please!

freeepeace said...

{{{Vivian}}} See, that amazes me! 27 years in one place. I admire that. I don't understand it [makes me anxious to think about]. But I honor it.

Robbie - I do need some kind of structure too. But I only like to work when I like what I'm doing. Otherwise I feel like I'm wasting time/energy/life. Maybe that just makes me lazy. ::shrug::

freeepeace said...

Mara - What business are you in? How do I not know this? I must be asking the wrong questions in chat! :P

Berly - I can relate to the questions. Even my roommate will ask, "What time are you leaving?" For some reason, even though I might have a time in my head, I always say, "Whenever!" I'm on my own schedule! :)

miarenee24 said...

Yeah, I can relate with what you are saying. I'm split down the middle. I remember the days up until Stephen was 2, I went in every day, and whether I was booked or not, I HAD to stay there all day. Then, had to pay my boss 40% of MY hard earned money + self employment taxes and buy my own supplies. ouch

miarenee24 said...

(prt 2) Now, I keep 100%, but it's not as regular. I want an official "house call hair biz" My hubby is certain I'll be murdered, so I only do a few senior citizens. I love to hear the phone ring, could be someone needing their hair done! I love being able to say, "can't do it on that day, how about this day?" if I have other plans. They never mind, and the money's good when it's there. My ends are too far apart too though :P .

ondinemonet said...

My dear, you are a courageous gal and to be admired! :)

freeepeace said...

Mia - murdered? wha-huh? I've walked "senior citizen" doggies before. Great clients - a little slow and incontinent but very loving! tehehe [love you!]

Carly - Thank you love! I appreciate your support, always. xo

gingergirl05 said...

First of all, this is a great entry!! Loved it! And secondly, dog walking sound like a hoot! I once saw this movie on ABC Family about a dog walker. It was so gosh darn cute, and it made me want to walk dogs. I take care of neighbors cats when they are away (the owners, I mean). Maybe I can be a cat walker, hehe. :o) ~ Kate xo

babyshark28 said...

very nice freee. lol...I can just see you in one of those scrappy jungle outfits, with a wide brimmed hat placed squarely on your head...with an alligator in one hand and your guitar in the other...wow...what a picture. LOL. your such a bold person. I wish I was more like that. xo

sunflowerkat321 said...

You're living your life on your terms. What more could you really want? The 9 - 5 is oppressive. I don't really think it works that well for many. The expectation that you give a company more, and more, and more at your personal expense is crushing, But they call it loyalty...ha! Most of working society has been forced to be disloyal to their own well being for only the shallow hope of security. It's no wonder we're all so fragile.

slowmotionlife said...

I have to admire you for this. There's so much risk in being self-employed. There's no sick time, no vacation time, no benefits. There's no guaranteed paycheck! That would scare the crap out of me! I guess I fall under the structured atmosphere catagory. Wrestling with alligators doesn't really appeal to me. :P

hempenhomespun said...

Being self-employed is an adventure! I think it takes a special kind of person--the kind that doesn't mind picking and choosing which bills get paid each month (ok, I'm not quite THAT poor)--to be an independent contractor. I also favor spontaneity, a fast pace, and an ever-changing job over a structured 9 to 5 (plus 9am is just too early to be at work).

derossetfamily said...

This entry is one of the many reasons you kick ass, Freee.
I would love to have a job along the lines of yours, if for nothing else, to not have to punch a time clock and be happy doing what I do. I also cringe at the thought of perfect structure, I thrive on spontenaity (sp?) so I can totally see why you would love what you do, even if you have to take up some odd jobs. K, Im ramblin' now LoL great entry!
~Mary

freeepeace said...

Kate, Dogwalking is great. A lot of work, big responsibility and messy. My car is no longer suitable for human passengers! But I love it! I cat-sit too. :)

Sharky, LOL Alligator wrestling with guitar in hand - and Hunny by my side I'm sure :)

Kat, I'm w/you on the 9-5 but when business is this slow I get a little nervous. Plus, my wish-list is growing. Sure, they're material things but they would make life so much more fun and comfortable [like a digicam and a real bed]

freeepeace said...

SloMo, I thought of you [among others] while writing this entry. You do fall in that structured category. I admire that in you. Part of me wishes I could just DO that. I'd love benefits and vacation time. But if I do this "right" I can have all that. :)

Hemp, You're not too far off about choosing the bills. And 9am is just too early - period!

bryantprep said...

Hey there,
loved the feel behind this entry. I admire and "envy"( In a good way if that is possible) anyone who is spontaneous and not shackled to convention. I myself have always been a creature of structure. Not anything wrong with that but I have always dreamed of just going for it. Just never have gotten up the nerve to take many chances. I look forward to reading more.
RC

andreakingme said...

Oh! Trish, what a NEAT entry. One of your best! I like how you related what you did, like to do, and need to do, to alligator wrestling. (LOL!) Verra creative. (LOL again!)

That would be a nifty job to have -- a dogwalker. I can imagine the spontaneity and freedom of not being chained to a desk for the same amount of time, day after day.

Do you think there are dogwalkers in Chicago, too?

freeepeace said...

RC, welcome. Thanks for your comments. You're right, nothing wrong with being a creature of structure. I could use more in my life. I'm just so resistent :) I envy that in you and others who can commit.

Andrea, really? one of my best? Thanks! :) Funny cuz I read it over and over before posting it. Wasn't sure if I was being clear. There's so much between the lines [dang character limits] And YES there are dogwalkers in Chicago. Check craigslist.org.

itsjustusinnc said...

GOsh, I'm trying to figure out which category I fit in. Obviously the latter since I HATE there being anyone above me telling me what to do. And I do love the fact that I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want. Nice entry Freee!

Gregg

sunlightbbygrl said...

Hey girl , sorry I stayed away so long but life's been busy, not much time for reading journals ! I've missed yours though ! I'll be back soon! siempre, Shasta

metski715 said...

Great entry. I have had a really tough time finding a job that I was totally happy with. I thought I was happy at Best Buy, but was wrong. I was only doing that job for the money and power. The job I have now is a true blessing. I say my thanks for it every night. Its beautiful to wake up and not dread the day that lies ahead b/c of your job. Im glad you're at that point too!
:)
chris

bridgetteleigh75 said...

Even though I haven't started it yet...I already know the thing I'm going to hate the worst about my job....TAKING CALL! Being at the hospital's beck and call is not my idea of fun. Loved this entry, Trish. And I really enjoyed our chat last night. =)

Love Always,
bridgett

clarity4today said...

I must say.... your world is so different than mine. The mere idea of someone actually being paid to walk dogs is completely outside my experiences. It sounds like the perfect thing, though. I agree with you about the flexibility being wonderful. :-)

somenuttychic said...

I admire you, Freee. I admire your freespirit attitude. That's awesome. You're hard working and motivated. And what a job!!! Fantastic! We should all be so in love with what we do.

I really enjoyed this entry.

bifemntampa said...

Freee - I'm recently out of a job - admin. asst. too and am trying to figure out how to start my own dogwalking and pet sitting business - the flexibility and work with animals is just what I want. I would really really appreciate any advice or tips you could give me!!
Keep it going, it's great to see someone be sucessful and on their own terms to boot!
Erin

iam4moou said...

I worked for a dog sanctuary, we were a no kill shelter. I was running a store in our local mall, and took dogs and cats there, and we adopted out from there, and the store closed. I so want to still work w/animals. I take it u live in a big city to dog walk? I couldn't see me walking a bunch of dogs. Do you think ppl would go for possibly letting there dogs out during the day or something, and being able to make money that way? I want to start my own training class really.

sebastionjoe said...

Hmmm,love your freedom! would be interested in finding out how you journeyed across America! By car or walking or horseback(It has been done)!How did you finance it without being ripped off as a vagrant?I am very independant,it has gotten me fired literally!Do not like anyone telling how or what to do my job,yet unable to free my mind like you.The more people I meet,the more I wish to be around a dog or cat,the saying holds true.From MI

chetsy55 said...

that job of hers is alright but there is no benefits as far as insurance goes. I have a dog and love her with my whole heart and soul but know that i will be the only one taking care of her unless i died and i have also made arrangements in that case.

sebastionjoe said...

How can I find out about your cross country trip? At chrisnohair67,Yahoo