What do you do?
I am a dog trainer at my training facility called Wag It Better that offers a variety of different classes and programs that help dogs establish good behavior and obedience. We also have a boutique that offers our customers to buy training equipment and other necessities. We try to get our dog products locally because we like to support the surrounding area. What I think makes my business special is that I am the only positive trainer in Murfreesboro. We use positive methods and don’t use any harmful practices such as shock collars and leash corrections.
How I got the idea for my business?
I do have to say I never planned on being a dog trainer when I was a little girl. However, I love animals and I have a farm. I was a school teacher before I started this business, and I have a degree in elementary education that led me to start teaching in North Carolina. I got a yellow lab puppy that displayed bad behavior and I didn’t know how to handle that on my own. I enrolled my puppy into dog training classes which I adored and filled out a form at the end of class that asked for feedback. I wrote back that if they needed any assistance I would be their girl! As time went by, I got a call to help out with assisting dog training classes and it quickly became my second job.
Susan Merrit was the apprentice that I followed and she always answered any questions I had. She even offered private lessons to teach me everything I needed to know. I did my research, read books, and attended seminars. To this day, Susan and I are doing business together. After volunteering full time, my husband told me that I needed to start a business since this is something I’m passionate about. This is how I got the idea to quit my full-time job and go for my passion to be a dog trainer full time.
What is unique about owning and running a business in Murfreesboro?
I have the right people and the right team that makes my business unique in Murfreesboro. The Chamber of Commerce, which promotes interest in local business possibilities, has provided me with a lot of information on the business side that I didn’t know much about. I feel that if you don’t know something, ask people for help or hire the right team that has confidence in that skill set.
How do you advertise your business?
I advertise by word of mouth. I haven’t spent any money on paid advertisements because I believe that people hearing about my business from other people is very effective and it has been so far for my business. I interact with local veterinarians and offer each person who works in a veterinarian office a free class so they can get to know me and see what I do. I think I have put the time in for this type of advertising strategy to work and I am open to new ideas since I opened up a boutique.
As a business owner what keeps you up at night?
Emails are one thing that keeps me up at night because I am training all day long. Client communication is very important to me and I try to respond within twenty hours. Sometimes emails feel never-ending but I take pride in being able to answer any question a future customer has and get them into training as soon as possible.
What is one way you had to change course to grow your business?
The boutique has been a major change that I didn’t think could happen. I thought if I made a training center in the back and have a boutique in the front, it would be able to cover the cost of renting the facility.
If you could wave a magic wand and make one problem go away in your business what would it be?
If I could serve clients better in other ways than phone calls and emails, that would take some stress off my plate. However, that is a part of being a business owner.
If you could travel back in time to the day you started your business, what advice would you give yourself?
I would push myself to get a permanent place faster. People around me pushed me to have a permanent place way sooner even though I didn’t want to. I think being open-minded would have helped me a lot and would have gotten things moving faster. Listening to my employees has helped me improve my business.
Where do you wanna go with your business?
I want to keep growing the boutique and open up a second location. I am still doing my research and talking to my partner on what the best move would be so it’s still in the works.
What is one thing right now that you are doing from a marketing perspective that’s getting you more customers?
Free classes have helped me from a marketing standpoint. The branded swag I have given my employees has helped as well. Local veterinarians refer their patients to me which has helped a lot with getting more customers.
What is one business lesson that you have learned that you are willing to share?
A business lesson that I have learned so far is that it is important to take things slow. If you can do a trial period, I highly recommend that. Jumping into things without giving it a lot of thought can be bad for business. I am very picky about the things I want when talking about my company and being able to see what something can become has helped me be confident in my decision-making.
What do you use for a daily to-do list?
The notes app is something I use to my advantage. I don’t have a set schedule but each night I check my notes app and that seems to be very helpful. I have tried using the pen to paper method but with me traveling I find it hard to keep up with. I always have my phone with me so this method works best for me.
What social media apps do you use that other businesses could use?
Wordswag and viva video are the two apps that have helped me run my business. Wordswag allows you to create original graphics. I love it because you can choose a blank slate to start from, or they have an entire gallery of photos you can use as a backdrop and it’s a great tool when you’re on the go. Viva video has helped me edit and create videos and it’s free so everyone has access to it. I think this app is great, especially for businesses that are just starting to use social media and marketing to grow their business.
Learn more about Wag It Better by visiting their website!