Celebrating Students Making Waves in Our Entrepreneurial Academy for National Small Business Week: Jennifer McKay

National Small Business Week 

The Greenhouse joins in the national effort to acknowledge, appreciate, and uplift small business owners in our community. For National Small Business Month, we are excited to highlight students making waves in our current Entrepreneurial Academy cohort. 

Meet Jennifer McKay with Nuts About Mutts Pet Sitting:  
GH: Tell us a little about yourself and your business!

JM: My name is Jennifer McKay and I am a certified Crazy Dog Lady! As the owner of Nuts About Mutts Pet Sitting in St. Petersburg, Florida, I give you peace of mind when you need to be away from your beloved pets. I offer pet sitting in your home, walks and drop-in visits, overnight boarding and doggy day care in my home, and I’ll even escort your pet for inclusion in your wedding or special occasion.

GH: What inspired you to start your business/What is your “why”? 

JM: Retiring from the military last May after 24 years of service presented me a unique opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life and put down roots in the wonderful St. Petersburg community. Since my own dog had passed away the year prior, I was inspired to begin Nuts About Mutts Pet Sitting as a means of surrounding myself with pets again and capitalizing on both my love for all animals and my extensive experience rescuing, working with, fostering, and owning giant dogs. Starting my business also allowed me to finally slow down after a busy in-office professional career, enjoy more time with my family, and incorporate more “play” into my life.

GH: What advice would you give to others looking to start/grow their business? 

JMI would advise others looking to start or grow their small business to the following three things: First, network amongst your peers within your professional community; when you stop viewing them as competition and choose to collaborate, wonderful things can happen! Secondly, be creative and resourceful in your marketing efforts; there are so many ways you can get your business’ name out there without spending a dime. Third, if you are a military veteran, take advantage of all the federal, state, and local resources available to you that may include small business grants, education, and licensing.

GH: How can the community support you/your business?  
 JM: The greatest compliment someone can give me and my business is a referral to a friend, colleague, or family member. Testifying to others that you trust me enough to care for your most precious assets is exactly how you can support a small business such as mine. When I hear that a new client called Nuts About Mutts because an existing client recommended me, it reinforces that I am running my business right – providing executive-level care to both people and their pets.
GH: How has Entrepreneurial Academy benefited you so far?  
 JM: EA has been incredibly valuable to me as a new small business owner in ways I had not imagined. Since my undergraduate and graduate education were in completely unrelated fields, this program has helped school me on the basics of market research, business plans, contracts, tax responsibilities, and of course – refine my 10-second elevator pitch to potential clients. Finally, the greatest benefit gained from this program has been the warm comradery among my cohorts – a collection of diverse and eclectic other local small business owners – as we grow and learn alongside each other.

More about Nuts About Mutts Pet Sitting: 

Visit her website here