From selling pet portraits and double-duty leashes to caring for pets with special needs, these women have found unique ways to earn extra money. Learn their secrets so you can start earning too!
“I make up to $3,000 a month selling pet paintings!”
“I had never painted in my life, but during the pandemic, I decided to try a free painting class. I painted a bouquet of f lowers, and it turned out so well, a friend asked to buy it! To my surprise, another friend asked me to paint a portrait of her deceased cat, so I gave it a shot and she loved it. As a dog owner myself, I realized selling paintings of pets could be a great way to make extra money, so I started Yellow Dot Artist (YellowDotArtist.com).
“Launching the business was a breeze. I used a template on Squarespace to design the website. Then to spread the word, I distributed flyers at local businesses and pet supply stores. I also partnered with vendors at farmers markets who were selling pet-related products like food and clothes and offered them a 50 percent commission on any paintings they sold.
“Now people hire me to create paintings of their pets for the holidays, birthdays and special occasions, or to memorialize pets who have passed. Some even ask me to add outfits to the pets! I offer three different sizes, and they cost between $100 and $250. I also offer the option to turn the paintings into items like cellphone cases, yoga mats, and stickers using Redbubble, a thirdparty vendor.
“To market the business, I host in-person art shows at apartment complexes and post photos on Instagram. I have also made paintings of popular YouTubers’ pets, and shared the photo on social media and tagged them, which is great exposure.
“I love that I have a creative outlet where I make up to $3,000 a month — money that goes back into the business and is put into savings.” — Nancy Murphy, 58, Plano, TX
“I bring in up to $2,000 a month with my water leash invention!”
“I own a large dog who has a lot of energy. Often times, I’d take her out for a walk in the hot weather, only to realize after a few blocks that I had forgotten to bring her water. I needed something more convenient than a bowl of water, so I duct-taped a squirt gun to the leash, and it was useful. I realized other dog owners could probably use it too, so I researched to see if anything like it existed, but there was nothing. I shared my idea with friends and family, and they thought it was brilliant.
“I didn’t know anything about starting a business, but I interviewed maker houses — inventors — and found one that could help bring my idea to fruition. I built a website, set up the legal structure for the business (formed an LLC), purchased accounting software and created a marketing plan. And in 2019, Spleash (Spleash.com) was born.
“Spleash is a spray leash handle that attaches to your favorite leash, holds 12 oz. of water and can spray up to 14 feet. You simply flip it open and spray water into a cup or directly into the dog’s mouth. They sell for $34.99 on our website, and we’re also looking to sell on Amazon and Grommet.
“To spread the word, I was interviewed on podcasts and Clubhouse, a social network and live audio platform where people meet in ‘rooms’ to talk and listen about different topics. I also put up a TikTok video that now has two million views.
“This business allows me to help out other dog lovers, and the community is amazing. Plus, my daughter works with me as creative director! I make up to $2,000 a month. Some of the money goes back into the business and a portion of it is donated to PetPartners.org.” — Kerry Cooke, 54, Carlsbad, CA
“I earn up to $750 a week caring for pets with special needs!”
“Years ago, I had two dogs — one was elderly and couldn’t be left alone, and the other needed therapy and was in a wheelchair-like cart. I knew there were probably other people who needed help with aging and sick pets, and I always wanted to work with animals, so eight years ago, I started Curly Girl Pet Care (CurlyGirlPetCare.com).
“In the beginning, I did some research on how to start a pet-care business, talked to another business owner and looked at competitors to learn about their services and fee structures. A friend of mine designed a logo, and her husband created the website. I also had business cards made up, put a magnet on my car and bought ads in small, local neighborhood outlets. Once people started to learn about my business, word spread and it quickly grew.
“I care mostly for dogs and cats, but also some rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds. Their issues vary from cancer and degenerative diseases to mobility issues and dementia. My clients like that I’m dependable and flexible, and they can have a consistent caregiver.
“My rates vary from $15 for a 20-minute walk to $65 or more for an overnight. I make up to $750 a week — money that pays the bills, goes toward home-improvement projects and savings for my son’s college tuition!” — Laura Ell, 56, Chicago
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.