I have to say that I love working out of my house. I can’t imagine going back to work in an office – ever! I don’t miss the commute, the expense of dry cleaning and gasoline, or the office politics. I certainly don’t miss having my kids in daycare. It was hard to leave them there crying, while I went to work. I hated the millions of colds and flus we got from the other kids in daycare and the cost of daycare was hardly worth all the other stuff.

I started working at home part time when my oldest was born. It wasn’t as bad with one child, and my mom and cousin watched her part time. When my second child was born, I put them into a daycare center. That lasted about 9 months. It was not the “working mom dream” I had when I decided to have children.

I then moved to going into work on Saturdays only and working out of the house as a production coordinator for a printing company. This was not ideal either. While I was home, I had to be on call while the production crew was in. I got calls by 7:00 and questions came in all day long. It was very hard to break away from a screaming or hungry child and think logically about how to handle someone’s label design crisis. It amazed me how much everyone freaked out about these projects. At the end of the day, this was only printing and no one died.

By this time, I was pregnant with my third child and had a preschooler and a toddler. Since I was now working less hours, about half what I was in the building, I was looking for a way to make some extra money. By the time my son was born, I had offered to take on my friends three kids part time while she went to work. It was like having 3 sets of twins four days a week. My thought was, I was bringing in playmates to give me some free time to work and if I was making lunch for 3, what was a few extra mac and cheese noodles?

This went on for a few years and by the time my youngest was 3, I had burned out. I had to find something I could do at home because I wasn’t going to pay for daycare and I had to find something that was 9-3 because my older kids had started school. I think I read every book on home based businesses. Every book tells you to do something you love. My thought was, how can I make any money doing a hobby? I drove my husband and friends crazy as I looked for the perfect home based based business.

About this time we got a dog. I had dogs growing up, but we had a cat when we got married. He lived with us 15 years until he passed away. My kids were old enough for some responsibility so we got a puppy. (She is another very long story that I will tell you about later.) After we got her, I became aware of a lot of people in the pet industry that I don’t think I ever noticed before. It was the first time I had heard the terms dog walker and pet sitter. When I was a kid, our dog held it for 8 hours while my parents worked. If we went on vacation, my grandmother took the dog. Well, what about the people that didn’t have family nearby or had a new puppy?

I found a local dog walker that was looking for another walker. I interviewed and got the job. I was given 3 dogs that I visited 5 days a week between 10 am and 2 pm and took for walks. I could bring my 3 year old with me while my other kids were in school. I got a 50% cut. Except for the weather, it was a good job.

After a few months, I decided to start looking for dogs myself and started my own dog walking business. I added pet sitting on weekends and holidays and then started watching kids before and after school to supplement my salary. Within 6 months, I was earning the same amount of money that I did part time as a production coordinator. Not bad.