Podcast Episode 254: More Money for the Same Effort in Your Pet Business

Today’s episode is about working smarter not harder – something that I’m a big advocate of! I found my inspiration for this topic while going through the lessons of Marie Forleo’s B-School back in 2021.  There was an exercise in the first module called Profit Picture that helped me realize a big mistake I was making in my business. 

I realized I was putting more effort into marketing and selling a $7 dog mom bracelet than I was putting into marketing and selling my flagship $300 online course. When I realized this and corrected it I was able to make over $10,000 with the course (versus the $100 I made off those bracelets!). 

Learn more strategies to work less and make more in your pet business when you JOIN MARIE FORLEO’S FREE 3-DAY Dream Business Bootcamp. It’s happening February 7, 8 and 9. Register to attend and win $20,000 in prizes:

Make More Money for the Same Effort in Your Pet Business

How to Work Less & Make More as a Petpreneur

One of the reasons I love working for myself as a pet blogger and online marketing coach is that it enables me to spend a lot of time with my dogs. Many people get into the pet industry so that can be around pets. Maybe you started a business inspired by your own pet!

But if you’re working way harder than you need to, you might find that you spend more time on your computer than you do making memories with your furry friends. I want to inspire you to take a look at where you spend your time in your business and ask yourself if you could re-prioritize so that you can make more money for the same amount of effort. Or maybe even more money for less effort!

I’m sharing my own lightbulb moment about working smarter, not harder in this solo episode. I’m also sharing details on a free Business Boot Camp that will continue and build on this message! Click here to register for the free 3 day bootcamp hosted by Marie Forleo!


    • Mini-update on my foster dog Chloe
    • How I realized I was spending my effort on the wrong product
    • A 4-step system to find out what products or services you should focus on selling
    • Details on Marie Forleo’s free 3-day business bootcamp

In this episode, I’m sharing one of the biggest lightbulb moments that I’ve had in my business. The story is all about a $7 dog bracelet versus a $300 course about making your dog Instagram famous (aka my first online course!).

Going through a lesson in Marie Forleo’s B-School helped me realize that I was blinded by the profit margin of my dog mom bracelets. They cost about $2 in materials and I could make them myself. I thought, “these are just $7, I’m going to sell a ton of them!”

I was putting all my effort into marketing these little bracelets. Then one day while working on B-School lessons I realized I was putting in more time and effort marketing the $7 dog mom bracelets than I was with a $300 Instagram course.

Sure, the dogs of Instagram course had a smaller audience that would be interested in buying versus the bracelets that I thought would appeal to everyone. But I wanted to smack myself in the head when I realized I would have to sell 43 bracelets to equal 1 course sale. 

Do you know how many bracelets I was selling? Like 12!

Make Decisions Faster So You Don’t Slow Your Pet Biz Growth

“For most new entrepreneurs, it can take anywhere from several months to several years before they begin to see stable, profitable growth in their business.”  – Marie Forleo 

I feel like I could have made my business more profitable earlier in my career if I had been able to make decisions faster. Instead of spending almost a year trying to move dog mom bracelets, I could have been marketing my courses. Instead of taking years to see big profits, maybe it would have happened sooner.

If you’re having a similar lightbulb moment right now about an offering in your business, I want to remind you that mindset is key. Realizing those little bracelets weren’t going to make me rich didn’t launch me into a downward spiral. I never once thought that I was a failure or that I was stupid for focusing on that for so long.

Instead, I was actually excited that I had a lightbulb go off and I had the opportunity to course correct and try a different approach. 

It helped that I had other products and services to offer so I didn’t have to create something entirely new. 

To really drive this point home… do you know how much money I made on wish bracelets versus the Instagram course. I looked it up… in the lifetime of each product, I made about $105 on bracelets while I made $10,075 from the Instagram course. 

And the fact is… I was putting in roughly the same amount of effort to sell those bracelets as I was to get enrollments in my course. Same effort, but a big difference when it came to money!

Knowing What Products or Services Pet Parents will Buy

Here’s the bottom line… Don’t come up with an idea for a product or service first and then try to find people to sell it to. The bracelets tempted me because of the high-profit margin and potential mass appeal, but I didn’t consider if people really wanted them, needed them or if they would have any benefit to my customers (if you can tell by now… they didn’t!)

Instead, do this… There are 4 steps I learned from Marie Forleo about how to know what products your customers really want to buy:

Step 1: Find a group of people you genuinely care about, and can easily identify and reach. Is it owners of reactive dogs, people with cats love cardboard boxes but hate how ugly they look around the house, pet parents who wish they had a groomer in their neighborhood… these are all examples from interviews I’ve done with other women in the pet industry! 

Step 2: Confirm they’re spending money on the type of product or service you offer. Social media is not an accurate indicator of success, so just because your competition has a lot of followers, that does not mean they’re making a lot of money!

The best way to find out if your potential customers are spending money on what you plan to offer is to ask them! You can do a survey on social media or via email, you can lurk around Facebook group and straight out ask “How much are you guys spending for 1-on-1 training?” Or “Where do you buy your dog leashes and accessories?”

However, keep in mind this advice from Tim Ferris: “To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy — ask them to buy. The response to the second is the only one that matters.”

If we follow Tim’s advice, maybe you dive in and offer your product and service before it’s 1,000% ready. If you’re not ready to offer in-person dog training classes, you could host a paid online workshop. If you’re not ready to launch your entire dog walking business, you can start by asking around and walking 1 or 2 dogs first.

If you dream of your pet treats or accessories being carried at over 200 stores around the country (like Ava’s Pet Palace from Episode 226) you can test out the idea first by seeing if people will buy from you at a farmer’s market. That’s how Ava got started…. when she was just 8 years old!

Step 3: Engage and build trust by asking questions to truly understand their deepest problems, frustrations, aspirations and desires as it relates to your product or service. This was something I learned writing the sales pages for my online courses… if you can capture your customer’s exact words to describe their frustrations and deepest desires and use those words in your marketing you’ll instantly connect with them!

Here’s an example of why you need to connect with your audience’s true frustrations. If you’re trying to blog about dog-friendly things to do in your city… your customer’s deepest frustration might not be the lack of dog-friendly places, it might be that their dog cannot chill out at a brewery or cafe. Maybe you need to collaborate with a dog trainer who can give advice on how to train your dog to be a good brewery dog and in turn… your travel guide blog posts will pop off! 

This brings us to Step 4…. Deliver a product or service that’s a solution they’re willing to pay for and sell the bejeezus out of it! Now you know who your customer is, what they’re willing to pay and what their problem is… it’s your job to figure out what you can offer as that solution to them. Back in 2018, a lot of people wanted their dogs to be Instagram famous and they didn’t know how to do that. I could provide a solution. The dog mom bracelets didn’t provide a solution to anything so it’s no wonder they were a bust! 

If you enjoyed this episode, let’s build on the conversation during Marie Forleo’s FREE 3-day Business Boot Camp! Click here to save your spot! 



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Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

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Tori Mistick Labrador Dog Mom Blog

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Tori Mistick is the ultimate Dog Mom Lifestyle blogger with a passion for style, chocolate labs and the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


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