You may find yourself at work missing your pets and daydreaming about a job that would allow you to play with animals all day. While that may not be the most realistic aspiration, there are ways to translate your love of furry (or scaly) critters into a viable business. Many options are flexible and have low overhead. So whether you're looking for a career change or just a fun way to make some extra cash, you can likely find a pet-centric business that works for you. It also helps to have a built-in customer base – other people who are wild about their pets. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
As long as animals are unable to take care of themselves, people will need pet sitters. Pet sitting is a straightforward way to break into the pet service industry. You can start a pet-sitting business as a sole proprietor, working out of other people's homes, setting your hours according to your convenience, and applying your direct experience caring for pets. You're also likely to find it immediately gratifying. Pet sitting is probably the closest you can get to hanging out with animals for a paycheck. If you live in an urban area, and depending on your schedule, you may also consider offering dog-walking services.
Organic pet food and treats
People are more concerned than ever with healthy eating, and they often extend that concern to their pets, who they treat as family members. There's a growing trend of natural pet foods that present a healthier alternative to mass-produced brands. If you're inclined to monitor your pet's diet more closely than your own, and already prepare your own pet food at home, you already have the makings of a business in a promising niche market.
Online pet supply sales
Nowadays, you can find luxury versions of just about every pet product, designed to fit a wide range of tastes and sensibilities. People want to spoil their pets with the best. People also enjoy expressing themselves through their pets. Whether you're crafty and want to make your own customized pet accessories or would prefer simply to offer a selection of your favorite products, online pet supply sales are often lucrative and easy to do from home. If you're interested, you can test the waters by becoming a seller on Etsy or Amazon, then scale and adjust in response to demand. Eventually, you may even want to open a brick-and-mortar store.
If you enjoy writing and have social media savvy, you can start a blog drawing on your knowledge and experiences as a pet owner. If you're unfamiliar with the world of blogging, you'll need to learn how to create compelling content and, perhaps more importantly, how to make money from it. Your blog can focus on any combination of advice, product reviews and personal stories. Look to other pet blogs for inspiration; however, it's important to have your own voice and avoid being a generic, interchangeable source of information. Think about what distinguishes you as a pet owner and how you can spin it into something unique and compelling. Thankfully, you can let your pets' cuteness do a lot of the work.
Scroll in any direction on any social media site and you're bound to come across a pet photo or three. Still, sometimes people want to capture their pets in a more professional light than their smartphone cameras will allow. If you're handy with a digital camera and image-editing software, you're part of the way to becoming a pet photographer. Like blogging, pet photography requires a certain creative flair and ability to market yourself. It also helps to have patience and a sense of humor. If you're the kind of person who can pull it off, however, pet photography can be highly profitable and rewarding.
Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl.