Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jamie Ruden, Founder of Dog Spotted, located in New York City, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Dog Spotted connects NYC dog parents with Veterinarians and dog-friendly places that they can trust. Plus, we have a curated community where you can create deeper relationships with other dog parents, vets, trainers, walkers, daycares, and groomers with the New York Dog Club. It’s totally free to join! We do offer a Premium Membership for those interested in getting extra perks like virtual dog training classes, exclusive events, discount codes, and more.
We’re a two-sided marketplace, so our customers are both the dog parents and the dog service providers. We support both by providing them each a network to connect in a modern and seamless way. We’re different from other directories like Yelp as we are serving one population – dog people in NYC (with plans to expand to other cities). Could it be yours next?
Tell us about yourself
I always wanted a dog. One of my earliest memories is spending time with a family dog and pleading with my parents for us to bring one home. Once we brought home our first dog, Cappuccino, a Yorkie, I was smitten. Ever since I knew I wanted to do something with dogs. My first job out of college was working at a dog daycare doing events and marketing, and my career path took me away from dogs for a while – but I knew I’d always be back.
During COVID, when I was working at my full-time job, I still wanted to do something with dogs, supporting small businesses and helping these dog service providers best communicate what makes them unique and different to help dog parents find the right fit for them, their dog and their wallet.
What motivates me each day is the feedback I get from both dog parents and dog service providers about how much our services have helped them with their dog or their businesses thrive and gain new clients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say one of my biggest accomplishments was leading a nationwide walk-a-thon for seven local rescues in NYC. We raised over $5,000, and it was our first in-person event. It was such a satisfying feeling sending the money raised to each rescue.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Saying no. I believe collaborating with partners can almost always be a value add. But sometimes, your values don’t align, or you simply don’t have the bandwidth. Even though we’re quite a niche – NYC dog parents, service providers, and rescues. I want everyone to feel welcome.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Before creating your MVP (minimum viable product), talk to 100 people that would be your ideal customer to see if you’d be solving a problem they’re desperate to have resolved. Your family and friends don’t count, as they want to support you and may not provide a fully authentic answer.
- Get your domain and other social channels to match. For marketing purposes, it’s best for all of these to be the same.
- Outsource things you don’t know. You know what you’re good at, and if you have the means to outsource for those tasks – do it. Your most valuable asset is your time.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
This may seem cliché, but being passionate about the industry or problem is so important. It may not be a problem you face, but there are days that are going to be really tough – but if you strongly believe this will be a value add to society, those days will be easier to get through.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.