We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Goetz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lisa, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
It’s funny because the mythology of being self-employed is that you get to set your own schedule. But I’ve worked so much more as a business owner than I have for any other job, usually without being able to plan days off since I don’t have employees to cover me. I also try to be available for client emergencies, one of my favorites is taking care of the pets at home while a client welcomes a (human) baby into the world. It took a long time for me to learn how important it is to maintain a predictable schedule, and take time off when I can, so I can be prepared for the curveballs and long days when they come. Lately I’ve been building my Monday through Friday dog walking roster which has afforded me more reasonable hours, and some weekends off. I also started my business in Torrance and moved to San Pedro, so for a while I was driving all over the South Bay to cover both territories. One of the tough decisions I’m making now is to significantly reduce my service area, because decreasing drive time can turn an 11 hour workday into a more reasonable 8 hour day to cover the same number of clients. A lot of the changes I’m making in my business now are because I want to onboard an employee soon, and I want to make things easier for them so they can just focus on taking great care of the pets. I wish I had made some of these changes sooner, to create a better work-life balance for myself. But sometimes it’s tough to prioritize yourself when you love your job, because you’re grateful just to be working.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my business in 2011 as a part-time project while I was still in school, never thinking it would become such a big part of my life for the next decade. I named it The Vegan Petsitter, because I wanted clients to know how I felt about animals just by looking at my name. I wasn’t totally sure how that would be received, but overall it seems like people have responded positively, even if they are not vegan themselves. Clients have also appreciated my background working and volunteering in animal hospitals, spay/neuter clinics, and animal rescues. In addition to trusting that I have the knowledge and experience to care for their pets, they know that I’m fully invested in this field.

One of the biggest challenges for me has been trying to finish my traditional education. I’ve been in and out of college for the past 15 years. I started as a biology major, and after a few breaks, I finally changed my major to behavioral science and will finally be able to graduate this year. For a long time, I felt a lot of guilt about not finishing my degree sooner, or not being able to handle everything – my business always came first. But now I’m also studying to become an animal behavior consultant through IAABC, and if I had powered through college, I might not have explored behavioral science or arrived where I am now. I don’t think I knew what I wanted out of school at 19, but now I feel confident that I do. And I’m excited to see what my educational path will mean for my business, and my future endeavors.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One thing I struggle with as a business owner sometimes is decision fatigue – so if I had a friend in town, I’d love to let them make all the decisions! I’ll be in charge of navigation. But if it’s up to me, the first thing I’d do is see if any bands we both like are playing that week, or maybe a movie screening at Hollywood Forever. I’m always down to take someone to any museum, except for the Museum of Death – I’ll never go there again. My #1 must-try vegan restaurant is Stuff I Eat in Inglewood, but a couple of new favorites are burgers at Monty’s and sushi at Kensho in Orange County. Disneyland is always on the table, but I probably won’t be the one to suggest it because either you’re a Disney person or you’re not, and a theme park day can really make or break a friendship. If they’re an animal person, I would also highly recommend a visit to Farm Sanctuary or Gentle Barn and a quick stop at Vasquez Rocks on the way!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I’m not working, one of my favorite places to unplug and recharge is Disneyland. It feels like being on vacation when I don’t have time to take an actual vacation, and I always come back feeling energized about my work. This might seem way out of left field since it has nothing to do with my industry, but I always want to recognize the Cast Members, performers, and content creators for making that magic. A few people I think deserve a Shoutout are Mat Miranda (@drummermat), Mitchell Johnson (@mgjohns), and Justin Scarred (YouTube: JustinScarred).

Website: www.veganpetsitter.com

Instagram: @theveganpetsitter / @vegan.dynamite

Facebook: www.facebook.com/veganpetsitter

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-vegan-petsitter-san-pedro

Youtube: www.youtube.com/vegandynamite

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.