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I want to take care of various pets for various (even dirt-cheap) prices just to be sure I can get any client to accept my offers. If I make prices unbelievably low, people will likely want me because I won't ask for much. Problem?

As the title reads, I have low self-confidence. I have to fake every smile, and often times people can read through it. I am not a very talkative person to strangers, and I'd have to "force it out", which makes me seem very fake. I am not unwilling, unskilled, or lacking experience, but just lacking confidence.

I grew up in not so good environment, and my esteem was crushed endlessly. I have drive, but I don't have people skills, esteem, confidence, or much self-worth(I also have mild Social Anxiety, and can't manage a typical hourly-setting job). Will I be too big of a burden to handle this kind of work?

  • +1 for such a great question, and... after my upvote you can now post comments! – digitalextremist Jan 23 '14 at 10:38
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I disagree with your premise. Most people who would hire a pet sitter care about their pets. Unbelievably low prices sends the message you aren't that good, or may have nefarious intentions. People who care about their animals won't risk it. Price will be a factor in their decision, but it probably won't be the main one.

So don't set your prices unbelievably low, try for the lower half of the typical range.

I don't know how to address your main issue, but I will tell you that many of us struggle with self-confidence, and faking smiles and small talk is not unusual at all. That doesn't solve your problem, but hopefully knowing you aren't alone helps a little.

If I were you, I'd look for opportunities to meet people with pets who might need your services, where the social interaction required will be minimal. Perhaps start hanging out at a dog park or volunteering at an animal shelter. Build up your confidence slowly. Don't try too many new things all at once.

I think you can get there, but it will take lots of patience. Don't give up!

6

Put it this way. If you're charging $5/day when the going rate is $25/day ( I don't know the rates ), somebody's gonna think you're stupid. If they've spent good money on a pet, why would they want to trust their investment with somebody stupid?

I'm NOT calling you stupid.

You have costs involved. Is the owner providing food? Other materials? You'll be spending your time cleaning up poop, doing walks, feeding. Don't short-change yourself.

What I would recommend is that you find out the going rate for someone that's been doing it for a few years, and knock off 20% for your first time out. It gives someone an incentive to hire you, but doesn't raise any red flags. You can probably look at craiglist in your area to see what the going rate is. Start with ONE dog, and once you start getting the hang of it, you'll figure out how to adjust your prices for more than one, and start raising your rate.

4

@Avonelle & @codenoire both have good answers. Here's one more suggestion to add to the mix.

Get a partner/salesperson. This person will be the "face" of your business. They will go out and find the pet sitting gigs for you. You would then pay them a percentage of the gig.

This person could even explain to the clients how you are such an animal lover, with lots of experience & skills, but that you are very shy around people. You are being hired based on your ability to take care of their pets needs. If they know in advance that you're not a people person, then they won't care.

Think of it this way. When you go to a restaurant, they put the bright cheerful person up front as the hostess. This is the first face you see. The server, will usually have a nice smile too. But how about the dishwasher in the back? Odds are, they are not smiling. Does this affect your experience? No. You go to a restaurant to have a nice meal & be treated nicely. If they do their job, then everyone is happy. You are getting what you paid for.

Lastly, I urge you to seek some counseling. You sound like a nice girl, but need some help to find your self-confidence. If you can't afford it, the county you're in should have some free alternatives.

Good luck!

2

Thank you for being so honest. This the first question I read on Freelancing, after answering many questions on StackOverflow. It is refreshing to read this. I personally do not believe you need "help" to do anything you want to do. Maybe some books... but you have an amazing advantage I mention below.

My local veterinary clinic has a young man in it who sounds how you describe your self. I find that the effort he puts into every interaction makes me value his strength, and each time I see him, he is stronger and brighter and it seems easier for him. I look forward to our awkward moments and he seems to feel the same. Life is a puzzle being fit together, it's not anywhere near comfortable to be alive. So remember, you are totally normal to be anxious, no matter how it feels like that is inappropriate. It is just feeling more of the truth of life than most. Anyway...

Why is my ultra-shy & 'awkward' local veterinary clerk changing so fast?

I feel it is because of the "animals," far more than the "humans." In your case, you have such a huge gift ahead of you. The animals literally give you their love and self-respect. They fill you with everything you said you don't have. That's what they do to us. We give them order, they give us love. So just like how in massage the goal is to "feel the bones" not "kneed the muscles" ... focus on the animals, and ask for what you're worth. Charge no less than 20% below the market rate, even at first.

If you do, you respect your self, the animals, and you will attract the kinds of clients who have the energy inside to see you for who you are, and appreciate you for who you are for their animals and their own lives. You are a very sincere person with hope and faith in your self. Congratulations! You are an asset of amazing value to anyone and everyone you force your smile upon. If it feels like force, it's really not. It's making your smile. We all were pushed out of another body, we were all the cause of tremendous pain, just to walk the Earth... so too our smiles.

One day, you'll wag your tail by accident and smile at moments of inner turmoil. You are doing the right thing to push into the unknown and uncomfortable. Keep going. Charge what it costs you to breathe.

One suggestion only... go sit at a dog park with your dog, even if you need to borrow one... and just play with whoever your dog finds for you. The animals are more of a factor than we perceive them to be. Don't think about the humans so much, don't try to appeal to the humans... just be your dog's friend, and have some business cards ready. Don't focus on anything but what the animals need and appreciate. The humans will not only deal with it, they will admire it... or you don't need them as clients.

1

First of all, I doubt you are that low-self confident because you posted a picture of yourself, which is something people who lack self-confidence wouldn't do. Secondly, you're such a pretty girl, how can you feel that way!?

In regard to professional confidence and competency, I recommend learning some skills of your trade. For instance, seek higher education in the field of zoology. This will give you a leg up on any discussion and your opinions will be seeked and respected. Thus, confidence abounds.

In regard to personal confidence, I feel really good about myself because I carry myself well. I mean, I dress to impress! I would encourage you to go out, get your hair done, buy a cute outfit, etc. The better you carry yourself, people will notice and they will let you know that they noticed. That will be a major confidence booster.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

-Dom

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