When Evelyn Shields and Vanessa Roy first moved to Austin, Texas, they had a hard time finding someone to care for their ill cat while traveling. They could only find dog-focused pet sitters. This sparked their idea to start a small cat-sitting service “on the side,” as a lark. They weren’t prepared for their idea to quickly develop into a thriving, full-time business.With increasing demand for their services, they needed help to manage Austin Cat Sitter’s rapid growth. That’s when they learned about SCORE’s free resources and expert mentoring for entrepreneurs and met their mentor, Jim Grimsley. Though Jim did not have experience in pet care, his executive background helped Evelyn and Vanessa create a business plan and operational systems to help their small business grow and succeed. “Jim knew great people who could help us with legal advice and accounting, and he helped us transition from independent contractors to staff,” the two explain. “We knew we were the right business at the right time, but we needed Jim’s guidance to get us organized and manage our growth – he’s been great!” adds Evelyn. After more than six years in business, Austin Cat Sitters conducts an average of 150 cat visits per day, with requests from new clients pouring in. As their business has grown, so has their staff. They now employ more than 20 cat sitters, many of whom work full-time and receive benefits, paid time off and even life coaching. “A lot of the people who work for us are younger and are learning how to ‘adult’ through this job,” Vanessa explains.” Within a short time, their business has become an essential addition to the greater Austin area. Now everyone who works for Austin Cat Sitters thinks they have “the rad-est job ever!” Evelyn and Vanessa take pride in their high standards and glowing Yelp reviews. They are grateful for the support from SCORE, especially as they set their sights on future growth. Says Evelyn: “We know our SCORE mentor will always be there for us.” 

What's great about my mentor? 

They are grateful for the support from SCORE, especially as they set their sights on future growth. Says Evelyn: “We know our SCORE mentor will always be there for us.” 

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