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.