how many clients do you have?

When someone hears that I own a pet sitting business, the second question they ask is "how many clients do you have?" What's the first question? It's: "You mean you do that as a real business and you make a living from it?" Well, that's actually two questions.

I never know what to say when people ask how many clients I have. Do you mean over the lifetime of my business? Do you mean active right now? Or just this week? Or today?

Clients come and go depending on circumstance. In the past few years, the most crucial factor has been the economic state. Clients have moved away to live with their parents in another area of the country or they take one vacation per year rather than four, so we don't see them as much. Or maybe a former stay-at-home mom has had to take work outside the home so I gain a client that needs potty breaks for the family dog.

The ebb and flow is also seasonal. With reasonable predictability, we are busiest in the summer and during the holiday season. If you go by the calendar, January and February are our slowest months. Travelers have returned home after the holidays, and kids are back in school. Come March, things start to pick up as spring springs and Arizonians start to enjoy a few weeks of "not too cold and not to hot"–perfect–weather. As we ease into summer and everyone evacuates our virtual hell, things really get cookin' for Well Minded. While you're all enjoying your lake breaks and coastal getaways, I'm hanging with your pets. And I love that. September and October are a bit sleepy, and then we pick up again through the end of the year for holiday travel. Basically, we're here when you're not.

So today I saw three animals. That's today, and who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I have over a hundred currently active clients, which means they have booked service with us in the last year. Some clients I see five times a week, some once a month, and some twice a year. Or something like that. I appreciate the business, but, more importantly, I love all of the animals. I have never (hardly ever...that's another story) met an animal I didn't love.

So how many clients do I have? Today I saw three. And those are the ones that especially matter.