Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Taylor Phillips, Founder of Great White North Pet Care, located in Langley, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Great White North Pet Care provides professional, high-quality, and compassionate care for animals of all shapes and sizes. We are specially catered towards homes with "unconventional" pets that the standard pet sitter isn't equipped for. Some animals we care for are cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles, horses, and other barn animals, pretty much anything you can imagine.
Tell us about yourself
Growing up, I raised and cared for house, farm, and exotic pets. It sparked a passion in me from a young age. When I was 16 years old, I started a job as a special needs aid for a single household. The family had dogs, bearded dragons, and a turtle. They would ask me to care for the animals if they were out of town, which was always so much fun. After a while, they started recommending my services to their family and friends. I had realized how much I loved caring for the animals I decided to sign up for "Rover," a platform that connects pet owners with potential sitters. I could only complete overnights or drop-ins in my client's homes.
After leaving my full-time position as a special needs aid at the age of 20 and moving to Langley, BC, in December 2019, I finally had the time and resources to start boarding dogs out of my home, in addition to completing overnights and drop-ins in clients' homes.
In February 2020, I rescued my first pair of guinea pigs, which sent me into a full-blown education mode. I scoured the internet and joined many Facebook groups in search of information. During the process, I discovered that in the UK, many businesses provide boarding to small animals, primarily guinea pigs and rabbits. It sparked the thought, "That would be amazing! I hope I can do that."
I immediately started researching the topic and networking with other guinea pigs and rabbit sitters from the area. In the last two years, I have been able to grow and care for many creatures. I have even been able to expand and start offering services for barn animals.
So far, I have been fortunate enough to care for mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, birds, lizards, turtles, tortoises, cats, dogs, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and horses. I am thankful and motivated to expand my knowledge with every new client.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that I could persevere against all the hardships and continue to grow despite officially starting a business at the peak of a pandemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for a business owner, in general, is to stay relevant with the times. Social media, networking, or even continuing your education. All of them take time and effort to keep up with. Delegation is key.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be sure to conduct market research. There is no point in putting your energy and resources into something that no one wants.
- Network with other local businesses. No one is competition, and there is enough space for everyone to exist and grow.
- Overwhelmed? Have a frustrating client/team member? Just having a rough day? Take a deep breath. Everything comes with time, be kind and persistent.
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.
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