Tech Trailblazers’ Ten Terrific Tips:

This week we have gathered ten tips from successful tech-prenuers around the world:

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” —Biz

Stone, Twitter co-founder

“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world." —Marc Benioff,

Salesforce CEO

“If you’re going to put your product in beta – put your business model in beta with it.” —Joe Kraus, Google

Ventures partner

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” —Reid Hoffman,


“If you’re interested in the living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them.”

—Ryan Freitas, About.me co-founder

“Nothing works better than just improving your product.” —Joel Spolsky, Stack Overflow co-founder

“Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea.” —Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO

“Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.” —Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder and CEO

“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” —Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder

“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than

working hard.” —Caterina Fake, Flickr co-founder

Alternatives to Trial: Save Time and Money

     It is a well-known saying in business that no matter the results of a trial, the only winners are the lawyers. Lawsuits require lots of time, cause bad publicity, and waste tons of money. It is no surprise that potential litigation is a business owner’s worst nightmare. No matter how careful you are, you are always just one step away from a lawsuit. Luckily, there are some established, useful, and valuable alternatives to a traditional civil court proceeding.

     Mediation is one possible way to avoid the negatives of a court case. In this process, both sides meet with a neutral, third party “mediator.” This person will help facilitate a discussion between the disputing parties. The goal is to arrive at an effective and mutually agreeable solution. The mediator has no authority to impose any judgements. This process can be great because it is much lower cost and much faster than the normal litigation process. It is also less formal than a normal court proceeding and allows for more creative solutions to disputes. Best of all, simply talking out your problems and avoiding a court battle will help you possibly preserve a future relationship.

     Another alternative is arbitration. Like mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party, an “arbitrator,” and present their side. But in this case, the arbitrator, most often a retired judge, makes a decision based on the facts of the case. He decides who is right and what the remedy should be. Both parties are legally bound to this judgement. It is more formal, with both sides able to present evidence and witnesses. This can be a useful process, especially in more serious cases. Although more expensive than mediation, it still costs less than a conventional trial.

     Hopefully you will never be involved in a case, but if you ever are, these alternatives will help. Keep doing everything you can to avoid a lawsuit, but know there are alternatives. Often mediation or arbitration clauses are written into contracts, specifying that the disputing parties must go to the alternatives before trial (it’s a good idea to check your current contracts so you are prepared before any issues arise.) In addition, after realizing the enormous time, money, and energy commitment of a trial, most people will be receptive to at least trying an alternative. All in all, these could be potential solutions that save you some of the pain of a lawsuit.

How I Started a Dog Walking Business Turned Tech Company

Nobody understands what it’s like to have your hands so full of dogs, that you don’t even have time to change your pants after a dog lifted his leg on you at the dog park. Or what it’s like to spend time with so many happy dogs all day, but to come home exhausted and covered in dog hair and slobber. It’s a labor of love and it can be the hardest and the best job ever.

You might have fallen into dog walking like I did. I have always loved dogs and I’ve always loved people too. When I was at UCSD, I missed my dogs back home so much that I decided to help out my neighbors with their dogs. Before I knew it, I was walking dogs on almost every street in La Jolla. By the time I graduated, I was walking 30 dogs per day and that’s when I decided to turn DogZenergy into a professional business.

My goal:

To create the best and biggest dog walking agency in San Diego so that I could spread my love to hundreds of dogs.

My biggest hurdle:

Fear and burnout.

In the first few years of running my business, I was happy, but tired. After walking all day from 7am-8pm without any breaks, it was exhausting to come home and do the busy work. The last thing I wanted to do was work on the schedule, create invoices, and get back to customer requests. I felt like I was stuck on a hamster wheel of the daily grind.

One day, one of my favorite clients was extremely upset when I handed her a late invoice. She said to me, “Brittany, you are not a businesswoman, you are a dog walker.” These words really stung. I put my whole life into being the best dog walker that I could be, but it was true. I was not running a streamlined business. I was behind on invoicing, I had no systems in place, and I had no help. I felt like I was drowning. A friend of mine told me to read The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber and this book really changed my life. In the book, Gerber explains that you have to work “on” your business and not just “in” it. You can’t just be a dog walker, you have to be a mindful business owner too. You need systems and processes so that you can hire a team and bring on more customers without compromising your quality of service.  

It sounded easy enough, I needed to build a team. But how do I trust them? How do I know that every dog got walked and no mistakes were made? How do I not get cut out? That’s when I started searching for the perfect software, but couldn’t find it. When Uber and other on-demand apps came out, I really wanted to get my hands on the same technology for my business. So I decided to pack the last ten years of trying to make my life easier into one easy, simple to use mobile business platform called Handlr.

With the Handlr business dashboard and connected team app and customer app, you can seamlessly handle the following:

  • Automate scheduling and dispatching of your dog walkers

  • Keep track of your client list. See revenue and satisfaction ratings per client.

  • Keep track of your dog walkers’ performance ratings

  • Receive check in and check out alerts and GPS track your walkers

  • Three-way chat between you, your dog walker and your client so that phone numbers are not shared.

  • You and your clients can see photos and updates about their dog’s day and share them on social media.

  • Easy client registration and safe, encrypted, credit card payment

  • No more invoicing. Get paid right away.

  • Always know how your business is performing with revenue reports.

  • See new customers magically drop themselves into your schedule.

Now my business is running completely on auto-pilot and we have 15 dog walkers and hundreds of clients using the Handlr app. Our clients are booking our services on the app 20% more than they did before and we are growing faster than we can hire. We’re on track to do a million dollars in sales this year. And now you can gain control over your business by using Handlr too.

If you’re interested in applying to join Handlr click here.

We look forward to handling business with you!

Handlr Automate Your Business

Britt Alwerud lives in Los Angeles, CA with her menagerie of animals - two goldens, Daisy and Taj, two cats, Tiger and Monkey, and two horses named Gracie and Moo. Britt owns DogZenergy in San Diego, CA. Now she is the full-time Founder and CEO of Handlr. Learn more at myhandlr.com/petprofessionals or email her at britt@myhandlr.com.

NAPPS Conference 2016 Recap

This past weekend, the Handlr Team flew to beautiful Orlando, Florida to experience the magic of NAPPS Conference of 2016. To say the least, we were blown away by the amount of professionalism, creativity, and entrepreneurialism displayed by every single one of the business owners we had the pleasure of meeting. We learned everything it takes to run a pet care service business. From dog training techniques, software solutions, marketing best practices, to eco-friendly poop bags! The pet care industry is vast and growing at an exponential rate, and NAPPS plays a pivotal role to providing great resources to their members. It’s a place that allows professionals in the industry to connect, exchange ideas, promote growth, and learn. This weekend encompassed all of those aspects, and more. We thank you for giving Handlr the opportunity to be there and we thank all of the guest speakers for their leadership in the industry and sharing their knowledge with us.

Below are recommended links for pet-related business owners in need of resources.

  • Catch Academy - Canine training academy

  • FetchFind - Education and resources for professionals, by professionals.

  • Big Dog Marketing - provides pet industry marketing services.

  • Dognostic - provides online academic pet industry career programs.

  • Hireology - A hiring software that simplifies the hiring process.

For NAPPS attendees who didn't get a chance to see our demo, no worries! Request a demo to see Handlr in action by clicking the button below. See everyone at NAPPS 2017!

For non-NAPPS members, NAPPS is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for the pet sitting industry and championing the welfare of animals. They provide resources, webinars, insurance, and skills for success (and more) in the pet care providing industry. For more information, visit: www.petsitters.org.

View the photo gallery:

Ch. 8 of the Comprehensive Guideline for Growing Your Business: Marketing & CRM

It’s a challenging game of choosing which avenues will work best for your business but as a general rule of thumb, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Marketing should be an integrated mix of efforts that will eventually increase your brand recognition and customer awareness.

The 7 touch theory states that your consumer should hear or see your marketing efforts at least 7 times before they make a purchasing decision. This means that your marketing message should be consistent and repetitive across all your chosen platforms. Here are 7 suggested touches to keep in touch with your audience.


  1. Direct Mail campaigns – make your content engaging and most importantly, relevant to your customer. It’s a complete waste of time to construct an email full of content to have it go straight into spam.

  2. Email Campaigns – keep in touch with regular newsletters with what’s going on with your business and news from your industry. Let your customers know that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy. And as a best practice tip, create a simple call-to-action. Do you want your customer to call, sign-up, download, or come in? Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!

  3. Social media – research and find out where your customers are online. It’s also a game of fine-tuning what works best for your business. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn are platforms that are information oriented and article driven. On the other hand, Instagram is all about dreamy pictures and visually strong images that quickly capture your audience’s attention. So, if your business is selling medical equipment, using Instagram is a platform.

  4. Telephone follow-up – Cold calling is one hard task to check off. Often times, people don’t answer the phone, you’re mostly spending your time talking to a voicemail, or you’re getting a straight up hang up. Give context to your prospects. They are more than likely to respond to your calls when they know what you’re talking about or can recall your brand! Sending them literature via e-mail, or handing out marketing materials at events are great actions to take before going straight to the phone.

  5. Community Outreach – get out there, build connections and get noticed! Sponsor a local baseball game, organize a beach clean up, or host a networking event with other strong and like minded organizations in your area.

  6. Speaking engagements – speaking at workshops or industry related events builds credibility and trust with your customers.

  7. Print Materials - build on top of your face-to-face contact within your community and leave a stronger impression by giving them take away content. Whether it's a brochure or a simple business card, your prospects can refer to these later on when they need more information. You can hand these out at local fairs, expos, and business/industry events. 

For the full 2016 Comprehensive Checklist, visit here.


Bigger Business Book Club

If you're a small business owner who is looking to become a bigger business owner, you must read our first two books on the list...


Being an entrepreneur requires a growth mindset that is constantly open to learning and improving yourself. You have to be willing to make changes and put in the heavy lifting in order to grow and experience freedom. These two books are the ultimate guides for taking the necessary steps to put your business on autopilot. We're not being paid as an affiliate to promote these books, they've just really changed our lives.

4-Hour Work Week

The book seems a little crazy at first. Especially if you're a small business owner who is a solopreneur and working 24/7. It seems a little outlandish to reduce your work day by 20 hours, however, we highly recommend that you give it a chance because Tim Ferriss does a great job of putting your business operations into perspective. Ferriss points out how many hundreds of hours per month are wasted on mindless tasks that can be automated or outsourced in order to free up your time for growth and more sales. Ferriss gives a ton of examples of, "high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either."  Ferriss lays out step-by-step hacks for things like - how to tackle email more efficiently, how to negotiate better with clients, and most importantly, how to go from making $40,000 per year working 80 hours per week, to $40,000 per MONTH working only 4 hours per week. Read this book and your mind will go into growth hyperdrive. If you're on the go, you can listen to the audio book or you can catch the Tim Ferriss Show podcast for a serious dose of inspiration from truly revolutionary entrepreneurs, artists and scientists. We're addicted to it.

The E-Myth

This book is the holy grail for small business owners. This is the book that you will be giving to all of your business owner friends after you read it. Michael E. Gerber is considered to be the World's #1 Small Business Guru for a reason. He makes a convincing argument that most people are working too hard "in" their business and not "on" it. The problem that most small business owners face is that they get into daily habits that are difficult to change and they are afraid of relinquishing control to other people. A lot of small business owners are stuck as a "One Man Band" and are so busy walking dogs, making pies, tutoring kids or teaching lessons, that they have no time left over to really work on the actual business. Gerber breaks down the mental barriers that we put up by reminding us that we can't do it all and we can't keep going in the vicious cycle of only making money when we're physically working.  If you are never able to confidently step away from your business for the day, the weekend, or for a vacation - you will burn out and you will feel stuck. Gerber points out that the most successful service companies in the world have been built by putting the systems and processes in place for people to consistently follow in order to maintain quality control and order. You are not the only person who can walk dogs, make pies, or tutor kids. You can build a bigger, better business by releasing control and putting the branding, systems and guidelines in place so that you can trust your team and free yourself up for more growth and freedom. This book tells you how and it speaks volumes to anyone who is starting a business or looking to take their business to the next level. We give it an A+++.

The End of an Era: Why Yelp is on its Last Leg

More than ever, an online review, often anonymously written on websites like Yelp can make or break a small business. If you own your own service business, chances are you’ve already felt the dramatic effects of a single negative review can have. A disgruntled customer can ruin a business’s reputation without ever stepping foot inside, and with little to no evidence of their claims. Search the web and you’ll encounter endless horror stories of distasteful reviews that, regardless of merit, have essentially crushed a business’s standing with the public. Even when countless good reviews outweigh a few bad ones, the systematic way in which Yelp strong arms its business users creates a dead end for a small business on the cusp of greatness. The real problem lies in Yelp’s ability to “filter” reviews in an effort to reduce fake reviews that have plagued the site.

However, the more you look in to this feature, the more you begin to wonder if Yelp is using this as a tactic to scrape money from a helpless business. John, an East Bay Restaurateur explained his experience to the East Bay Express in an article that explores the Extortion tactics that Yelp is using against owners like himself. John received multiple phone calls from Yelp employees after a few bad reviews of his restaurant inexplicably appeared at the top of his page. When Yelp offered to remove these reviews at an enormous price, John knew something was wrong "It totally felt like a blackmail deal. I think they're doing anything to make a sale." John isn’t alone. Hundreds of businesses around the web are stuck in similar situations, all the while potential customers avoid their establishment. Simply google it and you’ll see for yourself.

The lack of a standardized format for reviews means that a business's Yelp profile rarely accounts for an accurate reflection of it’s standings with the public. This is an out of date process that will eventually fail. As the public catches on to the scheme, Yelp will lose credibility and more structured review systems will take its place.

Handlr Business Spotlight: Hypnotherapy & Wellness with Andrea Squibb


Here at Handlr Headquarters, we're all about networking and making connections between people that will serve beneficially to them. We’re turning the spotlight onto Andrea Squibb with her business practice: Hypnotherapy & Wellness. Hypnotherapy has been a powerful resource for many when it comes to overcoming stress, anxiety, specific disorders, unwanted behaviors and bad habits.

Always up for a new #neverhaveieveradventures, Elaine our Creative Director, and Britt our Founder, both tried personal hypnotherapy sessions with Andrea. Britt described it as one of the most relaxing activities that she has ever tried:

I was under a lot of pressure with deadlines and couldn’t tap into my creative self, so I told Andrea how I wanted to let go of stressful, negative thoughts. I thought that I was going to be really out of it and that she would make me do strange things, but instead it was much more like guided meditation. It was amazing how Andrea’s calming voice could guide your mind towards visualizing peaceful and self-empowering images. Afterwards I felt light as a feather and was ready to tackle everything.

We’ve interviewed Andrea to get the low down on how she got started with her business, her tribulations in the process, and what her hopes and dreams are for the future.

Q: What do you specialize in?

A: I am a Certified Hypnotherapist. I specialize in helping people with anxiety, fears, phobias, insomnia, emotional eating, confidence building and sports performance. I have also helped many people lose weight and quit smoking. In addition, I provide group guided imagery journeys to local corporations and facilities for stress reduction and relaxation purposes.

Q: How long have you been in business?

A: I opened my practice in early 2010.

Q: What areas are you currently servicing and hoping to service in the future?

A: I have offices in Santa Monica and Woodland Hills and also conduct sessions over the phone or internet as needed to clients across the globe.

Q: What makes you different from the competition?

A: I have extensive training and client hours compared to many of my competitors. My sessions are always individually tailored to my client's needs. I also provide individualized recordings for use between sessions. I have a diverse background which allows me to relate to many different types of people. As a singer/songwriter, who also has experience in voice-over work, my clients benefit from my vocal skills, creativity and compassion.

Q: What is your biggest headache when it comes to growing your business?

A: My biggest headache is finding time and worthwhile avenues to market my business to new clients. Luckily many of my client's send referrals but I often get caught up working hard for my current clients and guided imagery groups and run short on time to market my services to clients who have yet to find me. I get bombarded by companies trying to lure me into marketing with them but often find it is not an effective use of funds.

Q:  What is it about Handlr that caught your attention?

A: I was drawn to the personalized attention and customer service I received from the people at Handlr. I also liked the clean, sleek look of the app and site.

Q:  Where do you see your business in 5 years?

A: I can see more people using the online platform in the future for counseling services or stress reduction which will be wonderful for my business. I can also imagine a world where insurance companies begin to allocate funds toward Hypnotherapy as they have done over time with Chiropractic and Acupuncture Services especially for smoking cessation, weight loss or exam anxiety. Helping people in need receive these services seems like a win-win for everyone in my mind.

Live in LA? Book Andrea on Handlr or for more information on Hypnotherapy & Wellness, visit: http://www.hypnotherapyandwellness.com.