If you’re like me, then you’ve always dreamed of working with pets. Working in the pet industry requires more than just belly rubs and snuggles (most of the time), but being able to take your dog to work is a huge perk!

Are you thinking of starting a business in the pet industry? Or maybe you already have and you’re looking for tips to take it to the next level. I’ve learned so much interviewing over 60 women entrepreneurs in the pet industry on the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast. I also run my own business that includes a blog, influencer Instagram account, online courses and an e-commerce shop.  In this post you’ll get a ton of advice on how to start a successful dog business.

How to Start A Successful Dog Business

Before we dive in, I want to share my number one piece of advice about working with pets. I’m not going to make you scroll to the end… I’m telling you up front!

Passion.

Yep, that’s right, it’s just one word, but it’s the most important element of your new business. It’s hard to start a new business. You’ll run into more challenges than you can imagine. What will keep you motivated to pursue your dream is passion. If you have a passion for dogs and the people who love them, that will come through in everything you do. It will make it easier to shrug off the criticism that you’ll undoubtedly receive at some point. It will make you keep asking after getting 10 “no’s” in a row. And it will also make your products and services better than the competition!

Your passion for dogs is what will make you a success! All of the other advice in this post will just make it easier and faster for you to become a success. Ready to fast track… keep reading!

There Are Many More Ways to Work with Pets than Being a Veterinarian

I remember when I was a little girl, I dreamed of growing up to become a veterinarian and a fashion designer. It’s pretty funny how close I was to what I’m actually doing now as a dog mom lifestyle expert! What’s changed in those 25 years is that the pet industry has grown so much and now there are so many more options to work with pets than just as a veterinarian.

The “pet parent” culture has grown so much that there are so many new ways to cater to people and their dogs. Dog moms and dads want the best for their fur babies!

I was really inspired by a conversation I had with Adina Silberstein of Queenie’s Pets. “I started Queenie’s in 2006. Before that, I was in the service industry and worked as a teacher. While I was doing that I realized that I always wanted to work with animals, but I didn’t want to be a veterinarian. I didn’t want to deal with blood or death. It took me a while to figure out that dog walking and sitting is actually a viable career. When I took the leap and jumped in, it worked miraculously! I started walking dogs in my area as a side gig. Then, when I came back to my hometown people naturally starting asking me if I could walk their dogs.” Her business grew from there!

 

Working With Pets: How to Start A Successful Dog Business

You Can Create Something that Makes Dog’s Lives Better

One of the most rewarding things about working in the pet industry is that what you do can actually make dogs’ lives better. By sharing homemade treat recipes, starting a dog walking service, photographing shelter pets or inventing a new product… you can make something better and easier for someone!

Although nobody can re-invent the wheel, there are tons of products that pet parents use every day that can be reimagined and improved to bring more joy or more function.

Marilyn Pianelli of Headlight Harness told me that she and her husband looked everywhere for a harness that their dog couldn’t get out of with an LED light built in for walking around their neighborhood at night.

“I thought there definitely has to be something out there. But there’s nothing out there! The first harness my husband made himself, and it was very interesting, but it was so bright. As we went through the process, we kept adding things. We wanted to make the harness with a handle that you could use to secure your dog in the car as well. So we kept adding more and more features until we felt we had created the perfect harness.”

The Dog Mompreneur Resource Guide

Discover over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by other dog mompreneurs that will help you run a successful pet industry business!

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Your Pet Brand Is More Than A Logo

When you’re starting your business (AKA your brand) you need to have a really clear idea of what it stands for. In addition to a logo and color scheme, a brand is what your business represents.

I talked to Kaile Piepkow of Dox Design about this topic. “Looking good is just one part of branding. There are designers and freelancers on sites like Fiverr who can create a logo for you for around $5. But that is definitely not what we believe in at Dox. We believe in getting to the heart of your brand and figuring out your why. So, I ask the hard questions.”

Kaile continues to explain that, “If someone comes to me and says, “I want a new logo,” I will ask why. Because that new logo they’re asking for might not even be what they need to get to their goal. They may want a new logo because they want to increase sales. However, if I look at their website and they don’t even have a call to action to go to their store then I let them know a logo may not be what they should be focused on.”

Your brand is made up of many different elements, from your logo to your product descriptions and the cards you hand out to potential customers. But it’s always rooted in why. Why are you doing this? Answer that and you’ll have a strong brand!

Pet Businesses Thrive In the Real World

What sets the pet industry apart from a lot of other areas is that consumers are still learning about things for their pets in person. There’s a very real-world, tangible element to pet products. They can’t just look good in Instagram photos, they need to be tested out by real dogs and people.

The dog park is one of my favorite places to discover new products and advice for my dogs. Pet parents are all doing a ton of research to find the best things for their fur babies and I learn more talking to them than getting lost in a crazy comment thread online.

As a business owner, this means you can make an impact by getting out there and talking to people face to face. There are tons of events, dog walks, pet expos and more that you can attend. Use these as an opportunity to show off what you do and also to learn about what people need.

Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation told me that, “In the pet industry, the internet is not putting brick and mortar out of business. Out of all the pet supplies bought in the country, only 9% are bought online. That means that over 90% of people are going in person to buy their pet supplies. Keep in mind that most people want to shop at a brick and mortar because of the experience. So think about the customer service, selection and the sensory experience in your shop.”

Don’t have your own store? Tha’s OK! Think about how you could partner with one in your area for a pop-up shop or special event. I’ve also had a ton of success organizing dog mom night at outdoor concerts and pack walks. Not only do I get to meet other passionate pet parents, but with these events, I establish myself as a dog mom lifestyle expert. In the long run, that will grow my business.

 

Working With Pets: How to Start A Successful Dog Business

How To Ask For Help in Your Pet Business

The best thing about starting a business in the pet industry today is that there are so many resources at your fingertips. I have found this community to be extremely supportive and helpful with any roadblocks that I hit. Just don’t be afraid to reach out.

When I talked to Mandy Diaz of Pawty in a Box she explained that “there’s a whole movement of women supporting each other. We’re in a new age to lift each other up. When you find like-minded women that inspire you, you do the same in return for another woman. That’s the whole thing with entrepreneurship, right? It’s not a straight line all the way up to success. When you go down the yellow brick road, you’re going to hit roadblocks. But that’s part of the beauty of it.”

Some resources that I’ve used as a support system are facebook groups like the Pet Blogger Support Group, She Podcasts, and Boss Project.

Ready to Start Your Dog Inspired Business?

I hope this post has inspired you to start your own business or make some improvements to your current biz. Want to help other women pursue their dreams? Share the image below on Pinterest or use the buttons built into this post to share it on other social media sites.

You can also get access to an amazing resource guide that I put together with the help of all my podcasts guests. Just fill in your email below and you’ll discover over 150 apps, tools and resources that will help you run a successful pet business!

The Dog Mompreneur Resource Guide

Discover over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by other dog mompreneurs that will help you run a successful pet industry business!

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