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Balance Beam #9 – Spot The Dog Walker

Welcome to our latest ‘Balance Beam’ work life balance profile, brought to you by Katrina Nelson and Lisa Nisbet from Spot The Dog Walker.

How are you been enjoying our ‘Balance Beam’ series so far? We would love to hear from you. It is great each week to read about what different organisations are doing around Australia and internationally to support work life balance. Our aim is to inspire you to seek greater work life balance inside and outside your workplace.

If you would like your organisation profiled on our blog we would love to hear from you. Please scroll to the end of this post for further information.

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Name: Katrina Nelson & Lisa Nisbet

Title: Directors

Company: Spot the Dog Walker

Country: Australia

State/Province: Queensland

Years in business: 1

Number of staff including business owner: 19



1. What are some of the work life balance issues your organisation faces?

Spot the Dog WalkerTM addresses the work life balance issue facing many people of wanting more time for family and lifestyle while still having the need for an income. Our business was created when my sister Lisa Nisbet and I, both Mums to young boys, saw the need that busy people have for a professional dog walking service, Spot the Dog WalkerTM. This new service provides local jobs for people who enjoy working outdoors, love animals and require flexible employment, just like the business owners – Lisa Nisbet and I. We’re both in Brisbane raising young families, so this business allows us to create a company of which we can be proud, and provide flexibility and
freedom for our lives.

2. What work life balance initiatives do you have in your organisation, big or small?

Our business creates local jobs for people who need a flexible, local job to fit around their lifestyle. For example, many of our walkers are stay at home Mum’s who would like to return to the workforce part time, but struggle to find a job which fits within school hours. Spot The Dog Walkers enjoy flexibility and independence as if working for themselves, without the cost and risk, but with the added benefit of working for a reputable company. We aim to find walking jobs as close to our walkers homes as possible to provide them with a local job and the relaxed, ‘family feel’ team atmosphere of Spot the Dog Walker creates the perfect opportunity for interviews, inductions and training days in local parks on picnic blankets with children playing by their sides.

3. What have been the main benefits to your organisation of these initiatives?

We allow people to participate in the workforce while still being able to maintain their personal commitments, such as caring for an elderly parent, looking after grandkids or being able to be at home for their kids. Our employees love working for us because they have a job they enjoy which fits their lifestyle and that gives us as business owners a great sense of personal satisfaction.

4. Have there been any obstacles or issues in implementing your work life balance initiatives?

We have had to learn how to explain really well what type of job we are offering as it is not for everyone. It takes a while for hours to build up for walkers in a new suburb and some people expect and need the hours (and the money) to kick in immediately.

5. Do you conduct any regular surveying or evaluation of your work life initiatives?

We encourage feedback and ideas from our staff and communicate with them often via email, over the phone and at staff training and marketing events, however in December will be conducting our first formal survey.

6. What are some of your own personal work life balance and/or time management tips?

  1. Make the time to plan and to outsource as early as you can in the life of a business to ensure you are available to focus on building the business and maintaining a healthy family life and avoid becoming bogged down.
  2. Maintain boundaries between home and work life by “turning off” in the evenings and on weekends as if you were working for someone else in their office.

7. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love enjoying great food with friends and family, I also love latin dancing, enjoying the outdoors and living in and experiencing other cultures. My husband is Mexican and my son was born there and we would like to return there for extended periods. To do so, the business needs to be capable of operating with me performing my role on-line and over the phone from Mexico from time to time.

8. Tell us about your organisation. What are the key services of your organisation and what is your target market?

Spot The Dog Walker is a professional dog walking business with a strong commitment to the health and well being of animals, local communities, the environment and people. Our philosophy is to see more dogs exercised and create local jobs for people who enjoy exercise and working outdoors, who love animals and who require flexible employment to suit their family and lifestyle. Being strong supporters of the RSPCA, Spot the Dog Walker donate to the RSPCA for every dog walk and most of their community based marketing is to fund raise for the RSPCA. We offer dog walking and pet visiting services to dog and pet owners who need assistance to walk or care for their dog or pet. Primarily our clients are working women who are the person in the household responsible for the care of the family pets.

9. What is your role within the organisation?

I am one of the 2 Directors and owners, with my sister Lisa being the other. She and I work very well together and our skills and strengths we complement one another. I have a strong commercial background with more than 20 years experience in Corporate business development and marketing roles while my sister is an Occupational Therapist. So the blend of my commercial acumen and Lisa’s people skills are a great mix. We work on most of our marketing activities jointly, but I essentially run the back office, while Lisa runs the front office being the person who liaises with our clients and our walkers.

10. Other comments, tips or ideas:

Working for yourself is hard, but very rewarding work. Being passionate and proud of your company, your employees and the  ervices you provide is the key to maintaining your motivation.  However, never lose sight that you are working so hard to create a better lifestyle for you and your family.

Abbie’s Comments: “Flexibility is so key in today’s workforce. What a great concept, to create a business that provides this flexibility not only for the business owners, but also the staff! Don’t forget, if you are looking for a dog walker and you aren’t in Queensland, get in touch with us and we can find one for you.”

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