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Introduction to Paragon’s Distance Learning Program

For those who want to become a professional pet groomer, but have difficulty attending a physical grooming school, Paragon’s Distance Learning Program offers more options. In this video, Melissa Verplank shares an update on the Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Not only has this home study program proven itself effective for training people entering the industry, but it’s also being embraced by grooming salons of all sizes too!

If you want to learn the skills necessary to become a professional pet groomer at home, or you need help training your grooming staff, check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. Visit ParagonPetSchool.com today and use the promo code “LUCKYDOG” and get $100 Off your tuition!


Why Become a Dog Groomer?

Is professional pet grooming the right career choice for you? It’s a field with many benefits, and Melissa shares some of the perks that resonate with many people entering the field. In this video, she shares her own experiences with what it’s like to work as a professional groomer and what can make a groomer successful.

If you’re ready to start your pet grooming career, whether full or part-time, check out Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program and start learning all the skills you need from home. Get started on our Home Study Page today and use the promo code “LUCKYDOG” and get $100 Off your tuition!


Alicia Ellis – Story from APF 2019

Alicia Ellis is a Paragon Pet School graduate who owns and operates Alicia’s Mobile Pet Service in Clarksville TN. We caught up with her in Atlanta, where she shared the value of Paragon for training staff.

If you or your grooming staff would benefit from Paragon’s cutting-edge curriculum, check out our new Distance Learning Program. New students who signup this month using “LUCKYDOG” get $100 off their tuition! Click Here for more information.


The Importance Of Setting Goals and Planning

Time is money. How long does it take to dry a small dog? How long should you budget for a full groom on a Shih Tzu? Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about the importance of setting goals and planning to improve efficiency without compromising quality. Focus and a methodical tracking of time will help you improve your workflow and increase your profitability.

Want to learn time-saving tips from the pros? Join https://www.Learn2GroomDogs.com today for access to hundreds of videos from top groomers. Use code word “LUCKYDOG” to get 50% off your first month!

Do you have staff or friends who would like to train the Paragon way, using Melissa’s cutting edge curriculum? Check out Paragon’s new Distance Learning Program. Refer someone and get a free Pocket Pal. New students who signup this month using “LUCKYDOG” get $100 off.

Transcript

Transcription

Melissa: Hi, guys. Melissa here, again. I want to talk to you about one of my time saving tips. That is setting time goals and objectives. If you don’t know how long something takes there is no way you are going to be able to improve your best times on anything. So it’s important, first, to know where you’re at, where you’re going to start. If you’re a brand new newbie you are not going to be as quick as somebody who’s got 14, 15 years of experience underneath their belt. So be a little bit patient with yourself but know that’s an area that you’ve got to work on. Let’s start with where you’re at.

Melissa: Now, my personal objective is always to turn a pretty normal groom, an everyday, simple groom, small to medium-sized dog, nothing fancy, no scissoring, not a whole lot of styling, just no-nonsense everyday groom. I want to turn one of those types of dogs, generally about one an hour, maybe a little bit less. I’ll tell you what, if you’ve got a bather working for you, half of the time is in the bath and the dry area. So if you’ve got a bather you might be turning those dogs a lot quicker than one dog an hour. But let’s say you’re doing the full thing. You’re doing the bath, the dry, and the finish trim.

Melissa: My general rule of thumb is if water can penetrate the coat and the dog is coming in on a regular basis, it doesn’t had anything done to it, it just goes directly to the bathtub. With that type of dog, that’s where I’m saying the bath, the dry, and the haircut should all take roughly about an hour. If you’re not hitting those time goals, let’s take a look and see what you can do to improve upon your time. The first thing I want you to do if figure out where you’re at. Know how long does it take you to bathe a small, simple-type haircut. Know how long it takes to dry a simple-type haircut. Know how long it takes to finish a basic haircut. Once you establish the ground rules, now you’ve broken it up into chunks. Now you can take a look and start working on improving those times and those particular areas. So break it apart in chunks, into steps.

Melissa: Get yourself a timer. It doesn’t matter whether it be a kitchen egg timer, one of those types with a dial and it turns and you hear it ticking off and bing it goes off and you need to be done or whether it’s a digital timer. Or you can even use your phone and set the timer on your phone. But time yourself. Break it in chunks and time yourself. Always try to beat your best. So know how long it’s going to take to do any procedure and then work really, really hard to beat your best time. Whenever you’re working on beating your best time, you don’t ever want to sacrifice quality or safety. Those are going to be really critical areas that you’re not going to want to shave off five or 10 minutes. That’s not what we’re looking for.

Melissa: We’re looking for just really small incremental steps to get better. Because once you start adding all of those little minutes and those seconds up, it’s amazing how fast it adds up. In no time, you’re going to be able to be doing and turning those dogs in an hour. If it’s a bigger dog, if it’s a fuzzy dog, no, you’re not going to turn it in an hour. There’s no way, or it’s hard, to turn a Doodle, a big, fuzzy Doodle, in an hour, big Standard Poodle, in an hour. It’s not going to happen. So I’m not talking about the big fuzzies. I am talking about your small, everyday, your Lhasas, your Shih Tzus, your mixed breeds, the dogs that are getting really basic, simple haircuts where you’re being able to do most of it with clippers or guard work. You can knock those dogs off pretty quickly.

Melissa: That just means more time for yourself, more time for your family, more time doing more things that you want to do. Or maybe it’s putting more money in your pocket. If you can do six dogs versus four dogs you’re going to be making more money. If you can do eight dogs versus six. When you first start out from grooming school or when you’re first learning or you’re apprenticing or whatever, I mean, your success might be finishing four dogs a day. That might be great for you. But know that as you work down the road, most professional pet stylists are working at a much quicker rate than that.

Melissa: We have seasoned stylists at one of my organizations over at Whiskers Resort, and they do anywhere between 10 and 16 dogs a day. Now, granted, a lot of times they’re working with assistants so they’ve got bathers that are helping them get through those dogs. But the bottom line is they are focused, they know how long it takes them to do a particular job, and they’re being able to work through their day very methodically, and they’re getting through it without killing themselves. When they leave, they’re still smiling at the end of the day.

Melissa: So working faster isn’t necessarily about killing yourself. It is about being efficient with what you’re doing and having the confidence to do it well. The only way that you’re going to be able to build speed is to be able to know where you’re at, where you’re starting from, and to get better from that point and move forward. So good luck getting through those dogs in the most efficient manner that you possibly can.


Grooming Tips for Rustic Coated Dogs

Have you ever worked with a Rustic Coated dog? In this video, certified master groomer Melissa Verplank shares her learning journey on the topic of Rustic-Coated breeds. Learn2GroomDogs expert groomer, Kendra Otto, introduced the MV team to tips and tricks on grooming the Lagotto and Pumi breeds.

Want to watch Kendra working on a Rustic Coated Lagotto? Sign up today at https://www. Learn2GroomDogs.com and Get 50% off your first month. Use code: “LUCKYDOG” on check out.

If you’re already a member, visit this link to see Kendra’s video: Video @Learn2GroomDogs

Looking to train staff or level-up your own grooming techniques? Check out Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program  – Sign up and Get $100 Off with code “LUCKYDOG.”

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here and today I want to give a shout-out to one of our Learn2GroomDogs.com training partners and that is Kendra Otto, and Kendra Otto has been one of our training partners for quite a while now and when I first approached Kendra and asked her to be one of our educators on the streaming video library, I asked her what did she want to film, what does she want to share, what did she feel confident with, and what she said was rustic coated breeds. No one knew how to deal with a rustic coat at that time and that was a very new coat type that we were just starting to see at the time that Kendra was really working with rustic coated breeds.

Melissa:
The two that really come to mind and that we have filed with Kendra is both the Pumi and the Lagotto. When she first approached us and she said she wanted to do a Lagotto, I didn’t know what it was, but I didn’t want to let on to Kendra I didn’t know what it was, so I just said, “Okay, that would be great.” I quickly ran to the computer because at the time the Lagotto wasn’t even in the AKC book. It was just being introduced. It might have been in the miscellaneous class at that time or it still might have been in the foundation stock area coming up and looking at being accepted into the AKC.

Melissa: But at any rate, I went home, did my research, found out what a rustic coated breed was, found out what a Lagotto was and we ended up filming with Kendra. I didn’t know anything about that coat type at all, and some of you may not have had the opportunity even to see them, or maybe you’ve seen them at dog shows but haven’t really gotten your hands on them and luckily I have, but this is the 22nd edition of the American Kennel Club complete dog book.

Melissa: We’ve got a little bit of a … there we go. There’s a Lagotto and so just really a no-nonsense kind of a breed as far as look. It’s a medium sized breed with what they call a rustic coat and then this one is the Pumi, and the Pumi is a very whimsical looking little dog, goofy. They’ve got a little different ear set. They have a wedged shape head and their ears are semi-erect and the way that you end up doing them is it’s almost like a Bedlington ear but where the Bedlington ear is gonna be down, the Pumi ear is gonna be semi-erect and so it really lends to this whimsical type expression that they have.

Melissa: But until I met Kendra, I didn’t know anything about either one of these breeds and that rustic coat is really different. The other thing with a rustic coated breed is they are not to be blown out, where normally when you’re looking at your scissor type breeds, the Bichons, the Poodles, you want them blown out straight, straight, straight so that you can get that really plush finish on your scissor work. But with the rustic coated breeds, that’s not the case at all. You want that coat curling. You don’t … you want it to look almost messy. Perfection is not what you’re looking for when you’re grooming those breeds.

Melissa: Again, until I met Kendra and actually filmed for Learn2GroomDogs with Kendra, I just didn’t know what these breeds were at all, so it was really interesting to learn about these newer breeds. Both of these breeds are now in, fully in, the American Kennel Club. The Lagotto is in the sporting group and the Pumi is in the herding group. They both had very different jobs and very ancient breeds, but caring for their coats is definitely different.

Melissa: One of the things I learned from Kendra was that you really want to use a wide toothed undercoat type rake, and that because they definitely have an undercoat and they have coat that … actually it’s not considered coat, it’s considered hair. Both breeds are considered somewhat non-shedding and so for folks that have allergies many times this is a breed that they can tolerate pretty well. But you’ve really got to get in there. You have got to keep them combed out but you don’t want to remove all of the undercoat so that wide toothed type comb really does a nice job to get in there and get the snarls removed, the mats removed, but then when you go to dry them, they need to be air dried because you need that coat really curly.

Melissa: The biggest thing with the rustic coated breeds is you don’t go for perfection. That’s kind of nice. But if you want to take a look or learn more about how to groom the rustic coated breeds, definitely check out Kendra on Learn2GroomDogs.com. She’s got a couple great videos on dealing with the rustic coat and rustic coat care plus she’s got videos on the Lagotto and also on the Pumi and I want to say with the Pumi we have a show Pumi and also how to work with a pet Pumi and how to maintain that coat and how to give the client a haircut that is going to accentuate the breed profile of the dog but be manageable for that dog to live in a pet home as well. Definitely check them out. It is the rustic coated breeds, the Lagotto and the Pumi.


Paragon Experts to Give Seminars at Atlanta Pet Fair

The Paragon Pet School is different than many trade or vocational schools because its on-campus and distance learning curriculum is developed and delivered by industry experts. Those experts will be taking their knowledge on the road this week to share with groomers across the nation at the Atlanta Pet Fair. Founder Melissa Verplank and VP Joe Zuccarello will make three continuing education presentations during the four-day event.

The pet fair features more than 100 exhibitors from the $70 Billion pet industry and is one of the country’s largest trade show and conferences for professional pet stylists and service professionals. The show provides grooming professionals with access to the latest products, education, pets and employee safety training, and networking to ensure they have the tools and insights to operate successful businesses.

Grooming Competition

The show also hosts one of the biggest grooming competitions in the Southeast United States, including competitors on the 2019 GroomTeam USA. Groomers and stylists from around the world come to Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference to participate in the more than 10 contests spread over four days at the show, including a “Rescue Rodeo.”

If you want to learn more about competitive grooming contests, visit GroomTeamUSA. If you’re looking for speakers for your next Pet Industry event, Contact Us.

Here’s a lineup of Continuing Education seminars by Melissa and Joe.


FRIDAY – 4:00 p.m. German Suite with Joe Zuccarello

Culture and Team Building: Why It Is Important and How It Can Make Your Life Easier!

In this session, Joe will speak about the ingredients necessary to build a solid team and the importance of your company’s culture as it relates to productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall operations and management benefits. Have you ever felt like not going to work, either by calling in sick or playing hooky only to realize that you cannot do that because you’re the boss and you have to be there? Do you feel every day is a battle when it comes to managing your employees and your business? Are you exhausted or discouraged? You’re not alone! This session is designed with you in mind! Believe it or not, you may be to blame for the feelings you are having. But there’s good news ahead…there’s a better way and Joe will explore practical solutions for you to put in play immediately when you return to your business. It’s ok, you’ll be a room filled with others who are struggling just like you are. So come prepared to be honest with yourself, open to new ideas, and ready to leave the session with a new perspective!

SATURDAY – 3:00 p.m. German Suite with Melissa Verplank & Joe Zuccarello

Perception is Reality – The Three Pillars of Branding Yourself

This down-to-earth presentation lays out the three pillars every pet grooming business and their team must master: branding your shop, branding your team and branding your marketing message. The bottom line: perception is reality. In this session Melissa Verplank and Joe Zuccarello will present how creating positive relationships with clients and their pets will grow your business. Creating a successful pet grooming business with a strong clientele is not a destination, it is a journey. The right message will create a healthy repeat clientele. The wrong message will leave gaping holes in your appointment book. Together Melissa and Joe offer plenty of positive ideas and strategies. Their concepts allow you to create your own branding platform. Their goal is to help you understand and implement the values of positive branding to build long-term success for you, your team and your business.

SUNDAY – 12:30 p.m. Australia Room with Melissa Verplank

How to Find and Keep Great Groomers

Staffing your grooming department can be a huge challenge. Melissa knows as she’s been there countless times herself. Over the years, she has learned what it takes to find great groomers – and keep them. In this session, Melissa shares her secrets to recruiting talent; talent who wants to grow their own skills and see the company succeed. She’ll talk about what to look for when hiring plus, share ideas on how you can encourage personal growth within your team. She’ll also discuss a unique compensation plan when it comes to paying your grooming team. Melissa’s methods are time-tested and proven. When used correctly, they ensure longevity and job satisfaction. These two areas are important when it comes to growth, profitability and a smooth-running grooming operation.


Making the Most of Trade Shows – Atlanta Pet Fair 2019

Check out Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank’s discussion on the value of trade shows as a source of professional development and networking. A self-professed “trade show junkie,” Melissa will be one of the guest speakers at the Atlanta Pet Fair slated for Thursday, March 7th through March 10th.

Love learning new grooming tips? Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com.

Do you know someone who wants to get started in a pet grooming career? Check out Melissa’s online curriculum at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program: ParagonPetSchool.com

Planning to go to Atlanta? Stop by the Paragon booth!

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here. And I want to talk to you a little bit about attending a trade show. I know a lot of you guys have never even been to a trade show and they are absolutely amazing. When I first started out in the industry, I worked for a kennel and she had a whole lot of magazines up in a storage room, and I would sneak up there, and I would start thumbing through these magazines, and I started learning about seminars and trade shows.

Melissa: And I’m going to tell you, when I attended my first trade show, which happened to be in Chicago, it was the All American Grooming Show, it absolutely opened my eyes to what the industry had to offer. And from that time, and this was way back … Oh gosh. I’m going to really date myself. I want to say it was the very early 80s, if not the late 70s, when I attended my first trade show. And so every since then, I’ve kind of been a junkie on this kind of information because one of the things that’s so cool about our industry is that you can never know it all.

Melissa: And so if you’re going to attend a seminar or a trade show, which I certainly encourage you to do, you need to go in with a really, really open mind. Now when you’re a newbie, when you haven’t been out to one of these events, there is so much information. It’s almost like you’re a dry sponge, and you expand your knowledge base and by the time you get done with your first trade show, generally when I talk to folks, they are so almost overwhelmed by the amount of information that they’ve just learned.

Melissa: And what I want to remind you is that when you’re brand new, everything is new, and you do have a lot of information to absorb and gather and take home and apply. But once you get your core skills down, once you start working through the entire process of grooming on a professional level and becoming efficient and being able to be proud of the work that you are being able to do and knowing the difference between a good job and a bad job, then you start attending the trade shows and instead of just being this super dry sponge, and absorbing everything, you’re going to be going in and you are going to be targeting certain aspects.

Melissa: You’re going to be able to go in and look at the speakers and look at the programs that are being offered. And to be selective about what you want to learn next. And everybody’s gotta staircase their career, and you’re not going to be ready to hear some of what the speakers have to say, or it might not apply to you, and other things are going to be more elementary. You’ve already got that down. You don’t necessarily need to attend that one, so you can start to kind of cherry pick those particular golden nuggets that you really need. But whenever you walk in, always know there is not black and white in professional dog grooming.

Melissa: There’s lots of shades of gray. There’s lots of opinions. And so that’s one of the cool things is that we get to pick and choose and the more information and the more speakers and the more folks that you can listen to and gather information from, the better you’re going to be able to go back and provide a better service for your customers, and that’s what makes it so fun. So, go in with a really open mind and be selective. When you do go into a trade show, make the most of your time. Have a game plan going in, because again, it can be really overwhelming and there’s a lot of different programs that are going on. A lot of these trade shows will have grooming competitions also going on. And I’m going to tell you what, if you sit over on a division or the open division side of the ring, oh man, can you learn a lot just by observing what is going on in the competition ring.

Melissa: Really great education, just to sit ring side and watch what those competitors are doing. And not only watch their techniques, but watch the products and the tools that they’re using to get this gorgeous finish on these dogs. So be … Look at the classes that you want to take. Know who you want to see. When, what time those classes are. And plan ahead, so that you can go in and make the most of your time and you can not only get to the classes you want to get to, watch the grooming competition go on, get around to all the vendors. Man, I’ll tell you what, if you want to get an idea of what is available for our industry and literally get your hands on the products, no better place than a trade show to do that.

Melissa: Because there are clippers, and shears, and bows, and dryers and you name it. If it has anything to do with professional pet grooming, more than likely there’s going to be a vendor at that show that you can actually talk to and you can test out the equipment. And you’re going to see a lot of folks that, maybe you’ve just seen in the magazines, or you’ve just seen on video. They’re going to be there. And you know what, everybody started out at a beginner at some point in time. And so, it doesn’t matter how far anybody has made it to the top. More than likely, they are going to be approachable.

Melissa: Now if you’ve got a competitor in the ring, or you’ve got a speaker racing to get to a class, they may not be able to stop and talk to you and give you their full attention at that moment. But I can guarantee you, everybody is very approachable and they want to help, and they want to help the new people succeed and move forward. So get yourself out to those trade shows and you know, sometimes the best education that you can get isn’t necessarily on the trade room floor. It’s not in the classes. It’s not sitting ring side. It’s by meeting new people, [inaudible 00:06:52] getting out and socializing and meeting new people and the conversations that you have while you’re waiting in line or maybe you’ve gone to the bar or the restaurant to have a refreshment, and you’ll be able to meet new people and share ideas and the networking opportunities that are available.

Melissa: You stop and think about, when are you in a room full of people that all have the same passion that you do? Dogs and cats and grooming. And so everybody’s got something in common, so it’s really, really easy to strike up a conversation and just start talking to one another. As you’re sitting in your seminar rooms, you’re going to be sitting next to somebody. Introduce yourself. It is so fun to be able to network that way. So we’re looking at the trade show season just starting. We’ve got the California show out coming up in February, and the Atlanta Pet Fair is March 7th through the 10th of March, and I know I’m going to be at that show, along with my entire team, and that’s a great show to get out to. Lots and lots of exhibits. I think they’ve got over a hundred different exhibitors.

Melissa: They’ve got over 70 different classes that you can take. So get out there. It does take a little bit of planning. You’ve got to plan some time off, you’re going to have some travel, but if you want to come back to work energized and ready to start fresh and new, there is no better way to get re-energized then going to a trade show and learning something new. So hopefully, we’ll see you at the next trade show.


Atlanta Pet Fair Features Melissa Verplank with Groomer Tips

The Atlantic Pet Fair has featured Melissa Verplank in its “Groomer’s Corner” to advance the premier pet professional event slated for March 7 -10. Held each spring, the conference draws thousands of professionals from around the world for four action-packed days of education, networking opportunities and access to more than 100 exhibitors.

In her 5 Tips, Melissa discusses the best tools and tips for successful grooming, from chunkers to specialty shampoo and spa services.
“When people ask me how they can earn more, I always remind them that time is money, and the faster you can groom a pet safely, the more money you will ultimately make. These five tips can help you groom dogs better in less time while providing great service for your customers—and adding cash to your pocket!” Melissa writes.

Check out the Five Tips here:


Melissa Verplank Receives Pet Age’s 2019 Women of Influence Award!

Paragon Pet School is very pleased to announce that our Founder & CEO Melissa Verplank was named a recipient of the Pet Age 2019 Women of Influence Award! Now in its fifth year, the Women of Influence Awards are given by the publication to 30 deserving leaders in the pet industry.

Congratulations to the 2019 Women of Influence Award Recipients

Citing the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of females who have made a notable impact on the field in which they work, Pet Age is honoring 30 “ambitious, hardworking females who are influential in the pet industry” with its Women of Influence Award in 2019.

These women hold leadership positions at companies throughout the sector, including pet product manufacturers and retailers as well as businesses that provide marketing and grooming services. This year’s honorees include women who have followed in the footsteps of family members who already worked in the industry, while others who have realized their dreams to establish their own companies. No matter the paths to their current destinations or their roles—with titles ranging from general manager to president, executive director, CEO and more—these women all share a deep love for animals.

Congratulations to Melissa and her well-deserving cohort of peer recipients of the 2019 Women of Influence Awards. Full profiles of the winners will appear in the March issue of Pet Age. Read the full announcement and recipients list on PetAge.com.

About Pet Age

Pet Age is a business to business media brand that covers the pet industry in print, online and through social media and events.

Their mission is to serve the pet specialty market by delivering timely and practical news and information about the products, trends, and events that impact retailers, groomers, manufacturers, and other related businesses. Visit their website for more info.

 


10 Things That Take Zero Talent but Earn 100 Percent Respect

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the power of 10 simple best business practices that will command client respect and build your business.

Want more business inspiration to fuel your grooming salon? Check out these articles. MelissaVerplank.com/blog/?s=tips+on+building+repeat+clients&submit=Search

If you’ve mastered the art and want to bone up on your own technical skills, check out Learn2GroomDogs.com

Want to train your staff to perform at the highest skill level? Check out Paragon’s Distance Education program for Grooming Salons. ParagonPetSchool.com/product/studio-enrollment-bundle/

Transcript
Melissa: Hi Guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about something, whether you be an employer or whether you are an employee, it’s not gonna matter, and this is something that doesn’t take any money whatsoever. Totally zero. It’s 10 things, and a lot of you have probably seen this list before, but it’s 10 things that require zero talent, zero money, but it is going to give you 100% respect.

Melissa: And so I just wanted to talk a little bit about these 10 different items and how it applies to what we do as professional pet groomers. The first thing, and this is just such a huge one for me, but being to work on time. Being done with your dog when you tell your customer, when you promised it, and anytime that you can’t uphold that, whether you’re running late to work or whether you’re running behind on a dog, let either your employer know or let your customer know that things might have changed a little bit.

Melissa: If you just can’t get up in the morning because you just can’t get up, change something, get up earlier, see if maybe your employer is willing to have you start on a later time during the day versus first thing in the morning. When I had all of my mobile stylist, I had early birds and I had folks that were just couldn’t get up in the morning, and we customized their schedule for them. I had some of my drivers, they were arriving to base at 6:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier than that.

Melissa: Sometimes they were on their client’s doorstep at 6:00 AM, but they were also done and they were out at the beach by 2:00 in the afternoon. I had other stylists that were rolling in maybe at 10 o’clock and that was fine. As long as we knew, but whatever the time you set be on time. Number two, have a great work ethic. A work ethic will get you so far and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you are an employer or an employee, whether you are a coach on some type of a team, whatever it is, wherever it is in your life, a strong work ethic will always earn you respect.

Melissa: The next one would be effort, and effort and work ethic to me go hand in hand. When we’re dealing with brand new students, they’re not going to get it perfect straight out the gate. One of the best teachers is experience, and making mistakes is a fabulous way to learn as long as you can minimize the mistakes and hopefully most mistakes are correctable with a little bit of adjustment, but if somebody comes in with a strong work ethic and effort, oh my gosh, they are going to go so far with me and in their life. Guarantee that is going to get them somewhere in their life.

Melissa: The next thing is body language. If you can smile, the smile totally comes right through, whether you’re working on a dog, whether you’re talking on the phone, whether you’re dealing with a customer, it doesn’t matter, whether you’re dealing with your staff members or the staff members dealing with anybody else on the team. If you’re sitting there going, “Nope, I don’t want to do it,” or “Gosh, I’ve never done it, but let me try it.”

Melissa: There’s different way that that body language came through where one person was workable and the other wasn’t, and body language and energy and positive energy. There’s that phrase out there that says, “Is your attitude contagious?” “Is it worth catching?” And I love that image where there’s a whole bunch of matches lined up and there’s one match and they’re getting ready to ignite just that whole row.

Melissa: Energy is absolutely fabulous. And dogs also, they read energy. So if you come into the salon and you’re in a grumpy, nasty mood and your body language is not positive, you just don’t want to work. You don’t want to be there, you don’t want to put forth the effort. Well, you know what, your day is going to get even worse because that energy is transferred right over to those dogs. And so it’s really important to have positive energy and have that great attitude coming in.

Melissa: Not only is your day going to go smoother, but every coworker that you have, their day is going to go smoother and the dogs are gonna respond in a much more favorable way when you’ve got that positive attitude, the positive energy coming into work, and you’re going to get that respect from your coworkers and your customers and also from the dogs. Passion is right in there.

Melissa: I still remember my high school teacher, and I was definitely not the best student. I mean if I was pulling a C average, I was lucky and if it was Spanish, it was something else altogether. But I had a counselor at this little tiny high school that I went to in Colorado, and I’m still in touch with her today and she believed in me so much and she said, “Melissa, when you find what you’re passionate about, nobody is going to be able to stop you.”

Melissa: And so passion is critical. If you want to succeed in your job and in your life, you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re dealing with. And again, it’s just gonna make your life be a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable. Be coachable. If I sat there and said, “Nope, I know it all. I don’t need to learn anything,” I’m just not gonna get anywhere. And that’s one of the things with this particular industry, with professional pet grooming, you can never know it all. So always stay open, always stay coachable, always think about what you can learn more and be humble at the same time.

Melissa: That’s not on the list, but humble to me is be coachable and be humble and that will gain you respect, hands down, over and over again. Another thing is do something extra, go a little bit more. No one is going to criticize you for doing something a little bit up and beyond what they expected, and that’s what makes people talk about you.

Melissa: With a service space business, if you want to really go far, you want to be able to do something extra to get people talking about you because people don’t talk about boring services, they talk about things that excite them and referrals are the number one way that grooming salons grow. And so you want to do something a little bit extra to get those customers talking. They will love you for it and you will earn the respect.

Melissa: And the last thing on the list of 10 is be prepared. Be prepared for whatever you’re going to be dealing with. If you come skidding into work at the last minute, you’re running late and your workstation isn’t set up. If your stuff isn’t ready to go, you’re not prepared for your day, your day is going to tumble in a downward fashion pretty quickly. And so it really pulls all of the 10 together, is be prepared.

Melissa: If you do these 10 things, you are going to earn the respect of your employer, of your clients, of your boss, all the way around you’re going to earn respect and you will also have respect for yourself. And so I really encourage you to think about these items that absolutely cost zero intake, zero talent to just do.


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