Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicolas Angione, Owner of Hope Gables Canine Dog Training, located in Norwalk, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hope Gables Canine is a full-service dog training and behavior modification company created after a long journey of struggling with our own reactive Mini Australian Shepherd, Layla. For those who are unaware, "reactivity" is a term used to describe a behavior issue in dogs that most often includes lunging, growling, barking, or all the above towards a "trigger" that the dog defines, which commonly includes another dog or even strangers.
After our own journey of trying to get Layla the help she needed, we realized that there was a major gap in our area for dog trainers who knew how to rehabilitate this issue (and ones similar). We spent thousands of dollars hiring numerous trainers who were able to provide only a little progress. After much trial and error, we finally found a trainer who could help. That trainer not only was able to provide the results we were looking for, but he also took me personally under his wing and taught me everything that he had learned over the course of his longstanding career in the dog training industry so that I could be a better, more informed owner for Layla.
Fast forward 5+ years, many early mornings and late nights gaining the experience needed to branch out on our own, Hope Gables Canine was born. And we've helped hundreds of clients solve similar issues with their dogs, often times even more complex than what we had experienced personally with Layla.
Tell us about yourself
If it weren't for Layla and our experience described above, I'd still be working in marketing, likely feeling unfulfilled and that I was being held back from some larger purpose. I had been working in marketing in Manhattan for over a decade prior to starting Hope Gables Canine, and while I enjoyed it, it just wasn't enough. I needed to feel like I was making a real impact on people's lives.
When you're making a real, measurable, and positive impact on people's daily lives, that is the most rewarding and motivating factor, in my opinion. A person struggling with their dog has to deal with that every single day. When you help to solve those issues and repair the relationship between owner and dog, you just want to keep doing it for as many people as possible. That's the bug that we caught, and that keeps us chugging along!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing the smile on people's faces when they experience their dog become their best self.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
You quickly come to terms that you can't do everything yourself. Learning to automate what can be automated, delegate routine tasks, and still maintain quality control is a skill that is invaluable to learn as early as possible. Otherwise, burnout is a very real risk to your business that could cost you your mental health and everything you've worked so hard for.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- There will never be the "perfect" time to start. Dive in head first and don't look back.
- Know your competition well, and outwork them.
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
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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