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Where are you in the pet business pecking order?

We have a new hen at Town Farm!

She’s called Ruby and she’s a beauty. Check her out below. That’s me on the left BTW.

Regular readers will be aware that Ruby’s arrival is just the latest chapter in the chicken chronicles. Allow me to recap;

We got our first four hens in 2017 not long after we moved to Town Farm, here they are arriving from Durham Hens where Toby and I picked them out the previous week.

Then last year Beth was doing a project at her school and they had hired an incubator and a clutch of fertilised eggs which the kids watched hatch into chicks. Very exciting indeed, for us too because we ended up looking after them over the weekend when the school was closed.

The story didn’t end there because we ended up keeping two of them, Dorothy and Blanche, and so four became six.

It’s been really interesting seeing them integrate over the last 12 months.

They often seem like the best of friends but there’s a lot of jostling for position in the hen hierarchy, this essentially means the two new hens get ‘henpecked’ by the older girls.

This is most evident when there are high value resources around, like corn, pasta or when on them pinches a biscuit out of my hand.

Then you see their true characters come out, and there’s often a little kerfuffle, as the more established hens see to it that the ‘young bloods’ don’t get any of the rich pickings.

It’s seems sometimes like it’s more important for the chicken to tell the another chicken off, than it is for them to get the food…

So, it’s going to be interesting to see where new girl Ruby fits into the pecking order.

She may not take the bottom place. We will have to wait and see.

This ‘pecking order’ is natures way of sorting out the strong from the weak, and there’s not a lot we can do about it with the chickens apart from make sure Ruby has access to food and water. We will put her in solitary for a while if it gets too bad, but I doubt it will come to that.

Funnily enough, this is the exact opposite of what should happen when you start a pet business and begin charging money for your dog training, walking or grooming services.

Despite what you  might have been led to believe by your dog training association there is no ‘pet business pecking order’. Those at the top of the tree would like you to believe that there is but it really isn’t the case.

I’m proof that you can claim your own place at the top of the tree, IF you have the balls (or the ladyballs) and the marketing know-how to go with it.

See, most pet business owners, especially dog trainers, fall into the trap of thinking they need to attend every single seminar under the sun (sometimes twice!) before they are ‘ready’ to put themselves ‘out there’. That not how it works I’m afraid.

If you are passionate and have skills that you know can help dog owners in your town then you have a moral duty to stick your head above the parapet and shout about your services (even if that means you piss off other pet professionals who have been operating for years.)

Where you put yourself in the pet business pecking order has nothing to do with how many letters after your name you have collected.

You need to be good for sure, but it’s really not that hard to ‘get good’ at anything.

Look at my journey;

I did one formal dog training seminar in 2015 (albeit this was a week long intensive with one of the worlds leading dog trainers, John Rogerson, so I probably learned more practical training advice than most pet professionals learn in a lifetime attending courses with inferior dog training organisations.)

I continued this education under the guidance of another local (but world class) dog training expert David Davies. Then over the next two years I practised and perfected these training techniques until I had a world class dog adventure service AND a devastatingly simple dog training method that could help pet dog owners have more fun with their dogs.

Dave Davies and I running a tracking day for clients.

I then sold these services locally in my town, and then further afield through my books, seminars and online courses.

Here’s the kicker though… I never ONCE asked for permission to do any of that.

I never waited until I had served some mysterious apprenticeship that only end when I’d been in business for 10 years (or more)

I never once got into bed with a dog training association because I admired their ethics policy. I have my own ethics policy and values that I stick to, I don’t need validation from anyone else.

I don’t suck up to anyone in Faceboook groups. In fact, I tend to do the opposite and I’ve been thrown out of most of them.

Boo fucking hoo.

If you’re dependant on Facebook groups to grow your pet business then you have BIG problems that need addressing pronto. You are effectively sleepwalking into the pet business graveyard.

I’m not saying it’s been easy.

Over the years I’ve took lots of grief from ‘wannabee’ dog training book writers and speakers. You know, the kind who sit and pass comment on social media because they don’t like something you’ve said (or they think you’ve said)  

For a profession that exists to ‘help’ people, the dog training world sure is full of bitchy arseholes who seem to thrive on being nasty to other pet professionals.

So, how can you make your mark and become known as the expert you already are without stepping on too many toes.

Well, the truth is, you can’t completely do that. To make an omelette you need to smash a few eggs (Sorry Ruby chicken that was highly inappropriate…)

My back of a napkin blueprint would be to;

Choose a niche – And become known for being awesome at one particular thing. That could be puppies, recall, walking gundogs, or grooming just Shi-tzus. Pick something. Something you are good at and you enjoy. Becomes world class at that speciality and then proclaim your expert status to the world, or at least to the local community of dog owners who are desperate for your help.

Learn how to market your services – To attract the kind of clients who are an ideal fit for you means you need to get better at marketing. I think you know that already, but what you may not know is how easy it is to get good (or certainly, a HELL of a lot better than your competitors) at writing compelling copy that attracts clients to you, at writing emails that effortlessly sell your services , at putting on an event that positions you as  leader in your field.

Be different! – Try and be different with everything you do in your business. The great Jim Roan said ‘You are the average of the six people you hang around with’. This is SO true. Hang around with average pet business owners in Facebook groups and you will become more like them. Hang around with seminar junkies who run failing businesses that do nothing but support their seminar habit and YOU WILL become one of them.

Look, I practise what I preach, and I teach this to my apprentices inside the Pet Business Inner Circle;

Here’s what one of my private coaching clients has done with her business over the last year, with my help.

Winning IMPACT presentation by Claire Lawrence

Impressive eh?

Claire won the IMPACT award and the title of PBIC Marketer of the Year, yet when she came to me she was, in her own words, tired, pissed off and on the verge of packing her business in.

Now, with her upcoming book, podcast and speaking tour she is about to claim her place near the top of the pecking order. And my other pitbulls inside the PBIC are doing similar things too….

So, what’s your rightful place in the pet business pecking order, and what are your prepared to change to get you there?

Look, change is difficult.

It was difficult for me.

It was difficult for Claire, and the rest of my apprentices inside the PBIC.

And it will be difficult for you to.

But, the alternative is a lot worse.

And you really don’t have time to waste, so take the next step TODAY and commit to jumping off the seminar bandwagon and instead learn how to better market your amazing services.

If you want my help doing that then you have a few options;

The first is to sign up to my 33 ideas that will help you Grow Your Pet Business FAST! You will get one idea emailed to you every single day. Click here for the emails.

Next you can grab a FREE copy of the pet business bible ‘Walk Yourself Wealthy’ from me by clicking here.

The pet business bible Walk Yourself Wealthy

Or if you are a super serious pet business owner, with a more established business that you are struggling to make profitable, and you want to move forward faster, then you can apply to work with me directly inside the PBIC or in of my pet business coaching programs. Click here to find out how to work with me personally to help you grow your pet business.

Take that leap today. You won’t regret it.

In 2011 Dom Hodgson revolutionised the pet service industry with his first business Pack Leader Dog Adventures, the UK’s first, award winning ‘dog adventure’ company. Now a respected dog trainer, author, speaker and mentor to pet business owners, Doms calling is to help dog walkers, trainers and groomers to excel with their marketing, so they can help change the lives of more dog owners with their amazing skills. You can join the elite, ambitious pet business owners inside the Pet Business Inner Circle, or apply to work with Dom personally by clicking here now.