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Education is Everything!

Want to take your passion for grooming to a new level? Do you want to keep your career fresh and exciting? In this video, CMG Melissa Verplank shares the origin of her company motto: Education is Everything. Finding opportunities for growth — and knowing what to do with them — can reignite your career and set you apart in this competitive industry.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens or to participate in our upcoming series of FREE FACEBOOK LIVE events!

Transcript
Melissa V.: Hi, guys. Melissa here. I want to talk today about a concept that I have believed in my entire career. Maybe, early in my career, I didn’t necessarily have words to go to it, but today I do, and those words have ultimately become pretty much our company motto throughout all of my educational companies, and that is education is everything. I am such a firm believer of this. Why? Why am I such a firm believer of education is everything? Lot of different reasons.

The first one that I can think of is it’s a confidence builder. The more knowledgeable you are, the stronger your skillset, the better you’re going to be able to service your clients, the pets. You’re going to be able to do a better job, and you’re going to feel really good about it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s professional pet grooming or whether it’s cooking, or horseback riding, or fishing. Whatever skillset you aim for that you want to do, the more knowledge you have about it, the more confidence you’re going to have when you’re doing it, and you’re going to have a lot more success with it. Definitely, confidence building is a really big one.

Another thing is it allows you to expand your career to be more professional. In our profession, that’s important. In professional pet grooming, it’s not a regulated trade. There’s no licensing for it, and anybody can call themselves a professional pet groomer. Those of us that have had success with it, we know that that’s pretty far from the truth sometimes. Being able to educate yourself to be more knowledgeable allows you to not only expand your career but also be a lot more professional for your clients. Again, education is everything right there.

It’s going to prepare you to take advantage of opportunities that could crop up for you. I look back at my own career, and I think if I had not had such a driving force, such a passion to learn, to grow, to expand my skillsets, I would never have been able to take advantage of many of the opportunities that landed at my feet. I know you guys, too, it’s the same exact thing that, the more knowledgeable you are, the more opportunities will present themselves. You’ve got to be able to, number one, recognize when that opportunity is there and then know how to grasp it or how to go for it if you decide that’s something that you want to pursue. Again, education, knowledge is going to allow more of those opportunities to present themselves to you.

The other thing it will do is it will really help keep your career fresh and exciting. I get it. Sometimes when we get into the daily grind, once the passion kind of dissipates a little bit, it can become kind of a grind. The profession kind of loses its spark. One of the fastest ways to reignite that passion is to get out there and to learn something. Also, the learning generally is going to take place when you interact with like-minded people. Most learning, you can do a lot of self-learning, but a lot of the really good coaching, a lot of the really… ways that you can accelerate your career even faster is by networking with like-minded people.

In this day and age, you can network not only face to face, but you can also network internationally or from all over the US. We have the technology today to have friends, to have folks that we know that we interact with all over the world. That’s really exciting. I can’t tell you how many people that I talk to from Australia or anywhere in Europe or even South America. There’s lots and lots of people that have the same passion that you and I do, and that is the pets. To be able to communicate with them really helps keep the industry fresh, and it keeps all of us driving in the same direction, which is expanding our career base.

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about is that education is everything. It is because we can never know it all. There is always another layer that we can learn, that we can master. Once we master one skillset, there’s going to be another layer and another layer. It’s kind of like peeling back an onion. I have been in this industry for a long time. I don’t think I would’ve stayed in it for as long as I have if I wasn’t challenged, if I didn’t continue to grow my career and continue to learn. There is always something more that you can learn.

Even when I first started as a professional pet groomer in my late teens, I didn’t necessarily have the words to the concept, but I knew, in my heart, that I needed to grow my skillset. The only way to do that was by expanding my knowledge and getting better at what I did. For me here 40 some years later, I firmly am a believer in education is everything. If you want to grow your career and experience success, oh, get that word out there, this is probably one of the best ways to do it is just keep learning and know education is everything.


What Keeps You Up At Night

What keeps YOU up at night? There is no shortage of things that ruin a peaceful sleep. Whether it’s keeping the revenue flowing or something a client said, those stressors add up. In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about some of her big worries in the grooming world and the times they’ve hit her hardest.

We want to know what drives you crazy. Things that have been difficult in your career. Things that keep you awake. Share your thoughts, and we might be able to help you find that good night’s sleep.

Take the SURVEY and tell us what keeps YOU up at night. We’ll use the information collected to get your more great content!

Transcript

Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here. And I want to ask you a question, kind of a serious question. And I want to know what keeps you up with your career at night? I mean, all of us have had the situation where something isn’t going quite the way that we want it and we lose sleep over it. I know I’ve had lots of nights that I haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep because I’m worrying about work. I’m worrying about my career, I’m worrying about something that has to do with the team that I’m dealing with. Opportunities, all of those kinds of things.

What are the things that keep you up at night? Is it money? That can be so stressful if you haven’t budgeted or haven’t planned, or something gets tossed in the works that you weren’t planning on and you don’t have enough money to go around. Whether it’s money to pay your bills or money to come up with payroll or maybe money to pay your taxes or whatever it might be.

When there’s a shortage of cash revenue, it makes everything else so much harder. Is there something that you lose sleep over or maybe it’s that you’re a newer groomer and you don’t know how to do a certain type of a dog. All of a sudden you’ve got a client that calls and you’ve never done that particular breed before.

When you fret over it and you worry about it and you wonder if you’ve got the skills necessary to keep that customer happy and do the job that they’re expecting. That used to drive me crazy years ago and it would definitely, I would lose sleep over it.

Too many clients, I mean, such a problem to have, right? But come on, we all know what those of us that have been there and are booking three four weeks out or even, a month out or maybe we can’t even take any new customers and we’ve got customers still wanting to get in. That is as much of a problem as not having enough customers.

Again, man, I get it. When you can’t service the customers that want what you have and they start getting angry and frustrated, especially regular customers or customers that you have serviced and you just can’t fit them into your books. It’s heartbreaking.

We are in the service business, we’re people-pleasers and so we want to be able to accommodate everybody and it can be really difficult and such a challenge when you just can’t meet the expectations of your customers. Are you mentally or physically just exhausted?

I’ve been there, I’ve been there more than once. But one situation I really remember well, where I was driving up to my last client, and this is back in my mobile days and I was trying to do everything. I was grooming full time, I was managing a business. I was trying to keep my staff motivated and educated, and moving forward with their careers.

I was going to grooming competitions and competing in trade shows and I just had everything coming at me all at once. Plus dealing with a family and just personal life, just stuff. And I was going up to that last client, I still remember I was headed up to Rockford and I just lost it. I just started worrying and fretting about all these different things that I still had to get done and the day was running really late and I just lost it.

I just pulled that van over to the side of the road and just cried. And I mean, I was so thankful that I had a dispatcher that recognized I was mentally in pretty deep trouble. And she called and canceled that last dog for me and got it rescheduled. But I still remember that day and just absolutely hitting that wall.

And I’ll tell you, leading up to hitting that wall, I had lots and lots of sleepless nights. Or maybe it’s you, you’re trying to find good groomers to join your team because you’ve got more customers or more grooming than you can possibly do yourself. And you need to start building that team and you can’t find any good groomers, or you can’t find groomers that can work up to the caliber that your clients have come to expect.

So, so frustrating and I’ve been there too multiple times. I still, again, remember where I had a van that I left sat down. I could not fill it for almost a year because I just couldn’t find qualified groomers to operate it. So, so frustrating. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had throughout my career, lots and lots of sleepless nights.

We’re working on some new projects and what I really want to know from you right now is what drives you crazy? What keeps you up at night? What do you lose sleep over? Pop it into the comments below. I want to know what drives you absolutely nuts. And I want to see if maybe we can figure out a way to help you get through that bridge and get to the other side and have some success, and get a good night’s sleep. Leave your comments down below.


Create a Culture Employees Don’t Want to Leave

If you’re a salon owner, do you struggle with keeping employees? Have you created a culture that employees don’t want to leave? Paragon VP Joe Zuccerello is a regular speaker on this topic, and shared his insights with Profit Network Members during a private session to launch the @The Dog Gurus Business Breakthrough Workshop. You can download free highlights of his talk at by entering your information below.

Download Your FREE Employee Culture Highlights for Joe’s Talk!






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The Importance of Continued Education

Do you struggle with confidence? With skill mastery? You’re not alone. Even “top dogs” are on the lookout for learning opportunities. In this video, CMGs Melissa Verplank and Judy Hudson discuss the importance of continuing education and their own personal quests to learn with the best.

Assess your skill level, find a mentor, and find the best books, websites and online communities to sharpen your skills. By finding, and using, all the learning tools available to you, you will build your confidence, increase your speed, efficiency and earning potential!

Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com or review Online Dog Groomer Training Courses in our Distance Learning Program.

Transcript
Melissa Verplank: Hi guys, I’m Melissa Verplank and I am here with one of our training experts, Judy Hudson, who’s also a really, really great friend. And one of the things that we love to do is ride together. And so, we’re actually right now at horse camp, and we’ve got a couple of our Rocky Mountains behind us. And it is amazing how much we talk business while we’re… We call it saddle time, right?

Judy Hudson: Yup.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah. And one of the things that we have been talking about is the importance of continued education,, and what that can do for your career and it doesn’t really matter where you’re at.

Judy Hudson: Exactly.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah. And Judy, I mean, you are so involved with continuing education. You have your own business, but you also work with national dog groomers and also the grooming professors. And so all of that is continued education. And what are you seeing out there in the field if folks are really focused on continued education?

Judy Hudson: I’m like you, I feel like continuing education is the coup de grâce. I just think it is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Not only continuing education as a groomer but continuing education, personal development. That’s something that has been huge for me.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah.

Judy Hudson: And I just see a lot of groomers struggle with self-confidence and with building their business because of the lack of self-confidence. So I feel like, and I just had this question the other day, how do you build your confidence up? And my answer to that was to build up your skill level. Because I don’t know about you, but when I was starting to speak and they told me, “Don’t ever speak about something that you don’t know forwards and backwards.”

Melissa Verplank: Yep. Absolutely.

Judy Hudson: Because your lack of confidence on that subject will come through.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah.

Judy Hudson: And so I found that true in the grooming industry, and I have spoken to some people over the years. I’m mobile, so a lot of people come to me for mobile advice, and so they were doing the right things, they were in a good neighborhood, but they just weren’t getting repeat customers. And you have to ask that hard question, what’s your skill level?

Melissa Verplank: Right. Yeah.

Judy Hudson: Because a lot of us are self-taught.

Melissa Verplank: Yep.

Judy Hudson: And there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to continue to learn.

Melissa Verplank: Well, and I think you also have to get out there and be able to understand the difference between good, bad or what you can do to enhance your skills. Because if you don’t know what you don’t know, there’s no way that you can move yourself forward.
So you’ve got to know where your skill level is currently at, and where you could possibly take it. And it doesn’t necessarily have to deal with grooming. I mean for me, I’m a self-taught groomer, and I got to the upper echelon of the grooming community and you too, but also, I see it with business, with speaking, it doesn’t matter what it is. If you want to move your career forward, you have got to work with continuing education.
And the more you know, the more you grow, and the more you’re ultimately going to earn.

Judy Hudson: Absolutely.

Melissa Verplank: And ultimately, it also makes your days go so much better. To be able to have the confidence level to be able to move forward and to be able to speak with conviction, to groom with conviction, to communicate with your customers with conviction.

Judy Hudson: And when you have to have those hard conversations with your customers about why you have to de-mat their dog, or why it has to be shaped down, or why you don’t want to shave down a double-coated breed, and you can speak to the science behind the skin and the coat. That sets you above [crosstalk 00:04:41] Yeah.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah, so much farther above.

Judy Hudson: Because then they are going to value your information. They’re going to value your skill level, and they’re going to be willing to pay for that.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah. And so let’s tell our viewers a little bit. Okay, so they’re buying in, maybe you guys are buying into the continuing education. How did they go about it? Where do they go to get that kind of information to be able to grow their skills? I know what I did, and I’m going to go ahead and share that. But what did you do to help grow your skills so you could get to that next skill level?

Judy Hudson: I actually found Chris [Pulasky 00:05:23] at a dog show and, well actually I’d seen her at the Atlanta Pet Fair. And I was competing, and I was watching her groom while we were waiting on judging and thinking to myself, “My time would have been better spent standing at her booth all day watching her grown and picking her brain than it would have been competing.” But I’m very competitive. So that’s where I ended up.
But anyway, a couple months later I found her at a dog show and introduced myself and said, “I want to be where you are.” And so at first she was reluctant because a lot of times people will take and take and take and never give back. And once she figured out that I was a sticker, she couldn’t run me off, she taught me.
And then I took private lessons from Janice Finn for my Cockers. I would work dog shows with Chris. Jody Murphy, when we were competing together, she actually helped me, well actually you gave me a best in show with that dog at the New England. So we all helped each other, and we can all learn from somebody. And now it’s so much easier because I’ve learned to groom dogs and the grooming professors and super styling sessions and all the things, I mean there’s just-

Melissa Verplank: Well, there’s [crosstalk 00:06:47] there’s a lot of materials, and with the age of the internet, you can find a lot of things, but at the same token, you have to be careful because free information is, a lot of times that’s what it’s worth. Not a whole lot because it’s free. So you’ve got to be really careful who you seek out. But as I’m listening to who you followed, they were the top echelon at the time.
And if you learn from a master, it is going to accelerate your learning so much faster. And same thing when I was learning, I was going to the absolute best that I could find. And it didn’t matter whether it be grooming or whether it be business or whatever it might be. I really looked for those folks and learned from them. And I also, I read a lot, and one of the things that says is readers are leaders.

Judy Hudson: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:07:45] And guys, we still, we are listening to podcasts, we’re taking, what do you call those? Online programs to make ourselves better businesswomen. Because that’s the other thing, is that it’s not just about grooming. And she’s been one that has beat me over the head with, “You need to know what your numbers are.” And so, with Learn to Groom, they have so many great business videos on the site, and that’s something that I’ve been wanting, to dive into them and listen to them from my own benefit.

Melissa Verplank: Right.

Judy Hudson: But you never stop learning. And I think that for me is the most exciting thing about this industry, is that you can’t get bored because there’s so much to learn.

Melissa Verplank: There is. Once you master one skill, whether it be one breed, one coat type, one technique, there’s always something more that you can build on. And just because you think you’ve mastered it five, 10 years ago, then all of a sudden new things come out, things change, and there’s no black and white in dog grooming. And so there’s a lot of different varieties of ways to learn, ways to do things.
And what I always say is if the technique or what you’re doing with a pet, if it’s safe for the pet, if it’s safe for you, if it yields a quality result, and it can be done efficiently, you’re golden. Try it, test it out, see what works for you, because everything is going to work a little bit differently.
And one of the things we love… We just had a horse hit the gate there. One of the things that I love about Learn to Groom is that we’ve got so many different training experts, and we have so many different levels of education, that folks can dive in at whatever level they’re currently at and move forward. And I personally vet every single training expert that we have to make sure that we have the best that we can possibly find for our members.
But again, Learn to Groom is just one avenue of continued education. And so I’m always going to encourage everybody to learn at whatever level they’re at.

Judy Hudson: Yep.

Melissa Verplank: And do what they can do, and move forward because you can never know everything and you can never master everything.

Judy Hudson: And that’s the other cool thing about Learn to Groom, is because we all learn differently. And you might not learn something from me, but Melissa might say it in a different way and the light bulb goes on, and we see that all the time.

Melissa Verplank: Absolutely.

Judy Hudson: And so if you watch a video on poodles and you don’t quite get it, watch it again or look for another one on poodles with another trainer. Because we’re all basically doing the same stuff. We’re all following breed standard. Our prep stuff is the same. But it’s just, we may just say it a little differently.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah. So definitely get out there. One of the things that we say within our companies is education is everything.

Judy Hudson: I agree.

Melissa Verplank: Yeah. I can’t stress that more, is that education is absolutely everything. So get out there, figure out where you can get that information to grow yourself and to grow your career. Thanks guys.


The Theory of Five Nominated – & Won – Barkleigh Book of the Year Award!

CMG Melissa Verplank’s The Theory of Five has been selected for Barkleigh’s New Book of the Year Award! Tune in to hear Melissa talk about the evolution of The Theory of Five – a method of grooming she developed to create reproducible results and systematic communication with team groomers and clients. From it’s early inception to the foundation it has become for dog grooming instruction, the Theory of Five has helped groomers around the world save time and make money.

If you’d like to purchase The Theory of Five, it can be found here: https://bit.ly/2ks0d3t

Want to learn to groom dogs on campus or online? Visit ParagonPetSchool.com and get $100 off tuition with code LUCKYDOG.

Want to keep your skills sharp? Subscribe to Learn2GroomDogs.com for access to hundreds of videos from top stylists. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.


Scissoring Training Wheels

Struggling to master the use of your shears? In this FREE Spotlight, Melissa Verplank teaches you how to find the balance point on your shears and to create “training wheels” so your hand is always in the correct position.

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How to Set the Body Pattern of a West Highland Terrier

Want to know how to set the pattern on a beautiful pet Westie? In this FREE Spotlight, Courtney Ramstack discusses how to remove dead undercoat, how to establish the pattern lines on the body, and how to clip them in on this retired AKC Champion who is now a pampered house pet.

This excerpt is taken from a full-length feature available to members at Learn2GroomDogs.com – members can find it here: https://bit.ly/2k0VFkg

Not a member? Join Learn2GroomDogs.com today to access hundreds of great grooming videos designed to help you succeed. Use code LUCKYDOG for 50% off your first month.


Paragon’s Online Dog Grooming Program Welcomes Courtney Ramstack to Mentor Team

Paragon People bring passion to the art of grooming instruction to help our students succeed. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome award-winning competitive groomer and instructor Courtney Ramstack, CMG, to our DLP Online Grooming Mentor team! Courtney has trained more than 150 students throughout the midwest, coaching them through grooming competitions and successful salon management. Her own rise from bather to industry-leader came through her strong sense of style, attention to detail and outstanding customer service. We’re delighted to have her on board!

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The Importance of Thinning Shears to Blend & Soften on the Finish of a Guard Comb Trim

In this FREE Spotlight Session, Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of an indispensable part of the grooming kit: thinning shears. Join Melissa as she demonstrates how a good set of thinners can make all the difference.

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Plan Now for a Successful Holiday Dog Grooming Season!

Yes, we know it’s still summer, but in a blink of an eye the leaves will turn, snow may fall (if you’re in the northern states) and the sweet jingle of the cash register will ring out across the land. Are you — or your salon — ready for the holiday rush? In this excerpt, CMG Melissa Verplank outlines tips and questions to ask yourself to ensure a smooth holiday season. If you need to hire help, train them now with Paragon’s Distance Learning program, and you’ll be set to ring in the New Year with record profits!

 

Ten Tips & Questions to Help You Get Through the Dogs During the Holiday Season

  1. What are the pros and cons of working extra hours? Do you have enough staff to handle the volume?
  2. Should you take on new clients?
  3. Make sure all your regular clients have their holiday appointments BEFORE taking on new clients or ‘non- regulars.’
  4. Hiring extra help – is there something you can easily delegate with some basic training that would free you up to deal with clients?  Cleaning? Answering the phone?  Taking out the trash? (Or adding a bather/stylist who has completed level 1?)
  5. Have you worked out a system to maximize the types of pets you take per stylist?
  6. Work out a drop-off and pick-up schedule that allows you to stay focused on grooming pets.
  7. Stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what happens during the course of the day.
  8. Set realistic time goals that push you, but stay on target.  Use an egg timer if necessary or place a clock where you can’t miss it – no matter what.
  9. Use every speed trick in the book from prepping – to bathing – to drying – to trimming.
  10. When clients pick up their pet, are you offering a promotion to assist in re-booking 6 weeks down the road when it can traditionally be really slow?

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