Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in dog coaching, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jan Perkins, founder of Live Oak Dog Obedience, certified with the American Kennel Club as a CGC instructor from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
What's your business and who are your customers?
Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist
Tell us about yourself
I have always had a lot of different animals, dogs, cats, horses, raccoons, etc., and have loved observing their behavior. When I was young I used to listen and observe dogs especially and was able to learn many of their ways of communication. It was a gift I have. When I was in my 20s I rescued a lab that had a lot of aggression issues that I trained and was able to control his aggression and use him as a demo dog while I worked for a dog trainer.
I went to BYU and majored in Animal Science and worked for a veterinarian for three years. When I moved back to California my husband encouraged me to start my own business, which I did. At that time I started Live Oak Dog Obedience in S.O., California, and hired about 10 trainers to work for me. My business went basically from San Bernardino to Los Angeles. During this time wolf hybrids were very popular so I was able to work with many of these dogs. This training gave me a lot of exposure to the wolf pack order and mentality of wolves. I was grateful for this opportunity and it gave me even a better understanding of dogs and how they think.
In 1995, I moved up to Sandy, Utah, and again started my business here. Most of my classes were taught at many of the Recreation Centers in the Salt Lake Valley doing group classes and also private classes. Because of the Covid Virus and many of the Recreation Centers closing down, I built a facility at my home. Because this was in a regular neighborhood and parking was limited and we needed more space. I was blessed to be able to find a home in Bluffdale and built another facility, where we are currently training. I love working with people and their dogs and look forward to every class and working with various problems my clients might be having with their dogs and helping them understand why they are behaving the way they are.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I love when I work with a really tough dog and the clients follow through with what I teach them and see their dogs improve and become well-behaved dogs. Having dogs that come in very aggressive or very shy and seeing them improve and become happy and well adjusted is a huge reward for me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
To be honest with you I love it all. I guess the biggest challenge I have is keeping up with the bookwork and phone calls.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You have to enjoy your job, that is for sure.
- Start slow and do your best. My biggest referrals come from word of mouth.
- Be a people person and enjoy working with them and be patient.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?
Love what you do. I love dogs and working with people so my job of training is easy and fun for me. People can tell if it is just a job or if it is something that you enjoy.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Fun and interest in the clients I am working with. Most of my clients become friends.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email email@example.com, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check us out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.