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What Are Your Doors of Opportunity?

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I was one of those difficult kids for my parents. I had no focus. My grades in school were dismal. I was rebellious. I hung out with the ‘wrong crowd.’  Sound familiar? Maybe that was you. Or maybe you know someone like that right now.

I was so difficult for my mom and step-dad; a school counselor contacted my father. She told him she felt I was a suicide risk. I should be removed from my current living situation if at all possible. Luckily, it was possible. I was sent off to private boarding school.

I’m sure the small private school in Colorado saved my life. Much of their early education was founded around the principles of Outward Bound, both inside and outside the classroom.  My love of animals and the outdoors gave me the focus I needed to turn my life around.

I got my start in the pet industry when I was 16 years old. My first job was scooping poop at a local kennel. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up.’ All I knew was I loved pets.  For me, working at the kennel was exceptionally gratifying. I did that for three years while going to school. 

Then one day the groomer got fired. I went from shoveling poop to grooming dogs overnight. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But I had tools. I had a book.  I had a ready-made clientele. And I had a boss that was willing to let me learn.  My first day as a ‘professional groomer,’ I had 6 dogs to groom.  That was 1980.

Fast forward to 2014. Thirty-four years later. The pet industry opened huge doors of opportunity for me. My education was not in the classroom. It was on the job. I was no longer rebellious. I was focused. I was able to turn my passion into a career. And I took it seriously. I may not have earned many A’s in school (I don’t think I ever saw one of those come across a report card!) but I didn’t let that stop me from achieving A’s in real life.

In the early years, I had no idea what I would set out to accomplish – but if I was going to do this – I was going to be the best dog groomer I could possibly be.

It has been a non-stop learning opportunity as I climbed the stairway of knowledge – and business. The pet industry is limitless with what you can achieve for yourself – and for others that may join you on your journey.

Over the years I’ve started many pet related businesses including: a fleet of mobile grooming vans, a grooming shop, a grooming school, a publishing company, a luxury pet report, and an internet based library of educational streaming videos. I’ve had the chance to travel the world with the pet grooming industry, first as a top rated pet stylist then as an award winning speaker. I’ve been able to share my quest of knowledge by creating top rated curriculums and by writing books. I’ve watched a couple of my companies hit the million dollar mark in annual sales. I’ve seen some of them grow at tremendous rates. I’ve been amazed at the staying power of others.  We’ve weathered challenging times that would destroy most businesses – but we’ve faced the struggles and persevered.

As you look ahead to 2014, what do you plan on doing with your career? Are you happy with where you are?  Are you making the type of money you are comfortable with? Are you satisfied with the quality of your work? Do you have a steady stream of regular clients? Are you booked in weeks in advanced or even a year out with repeat clients? Do you enjoy going to work each day?

Here are two quotes I love.

The first one is from Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi. He said, “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.”

The second one is from Diana Ross. She stated, “You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream; you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.”

The pet service business is an amazing field to be in. You – alone – are responsible for your destiny. Only YOU can change your career path. If you are not thrilled with where you currently are in life – change it! Only you hold the key.

Once I got through my difficult phase in life – I found a fabulous career path. One filled with challenges and rewards. With each step, new doors of opportunity appeared. If I chose to work hard – very hard at mastering each task, I had more doors open. It’s been an amazing journey that I wouldn’t trade for a million years.

What are you going to do to change your career path and make it the most rewarding year yet? 2014 holds many promises if you choose to open the doors. Your rewarding journey can start simply by taking the steps towards a new opportunity.

 Happy Trimming!


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