Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mikaela Gustafson, Owner of Courteous K9, located in Rochester, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Three years ago, I started a dog training business that has a variety of services, including group classes, private lessons, and day training. Our training-based dog daycare is where your dog goes home not only tired but better trained as well! Board & Train is where the dogs go home with a trainer to their personal homes and our online class membership!

Tell us about yourself

I have always had a passion for animals. Since I was 15 years old, I have been training and competing in a variety of dog sports. I worked at a large dog daycare, boarding, and training facility for six years before deciding to open my own business. I strive to provide quality training to both humans and canines so every dog owner can enjoy their dog and have them well-behaved so they can take their dog to more places!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been helping thousands of owners increase their relationship with their dogs and inspire them to do more with them, whether it be off-leash reliability training, basic or advanced obedience, and fun sports and activities like nose work!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is finding a work-life balance. I always am striving to improve and am constantly thinking about what we can enhance and do better. This is also difficult when I bring work home with me, literally!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Master your craft and find your niche.
  2. Find the right staff and keep them happy. Having long-term quality staff is so much easier than having a high turnover. This will also keep the quality and efficiency higher.
  3. Learn to delegate. No one is good at everything. Find or hire staff that has strengths in your weaknesses.

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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