Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gail Furtado, president of Forever Paws Animal Shelter, located in Fall River, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Forever Paws Animal Shelter is a non-profit and no-kill animal shelter. Our customers are people who want to be reunited with their lost animals and people who want to adopt an abandoned, abused, or rescued animal.
Tell us about yourself
I started as a volunteer 25 years ago (one year shy of the full 26 years we have been open). The founder asked me to join the Board of Directors. I stay motivated by seeing animals reunited with their families, adopting animals to their forever homes, and working with an amazing staff of dedicated workers, including volunteers and Animal Control Officers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Working to keep the shelter operational without any business background. Hiring staff that is willing to work at what we can afford to pay them. Lastly, but most importantly, getting all the animals into their forever homes and reunited with families.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Although I do not own the business, you can not own a non-profit business. Having stated that, we do not have an Executive Director to ensure all the funds we raise go into the business and take care of the animal's needs. Myself and another Board of Directors assume the role, and as the owner of a company, we maintain the business. I must add we are not paid for doing this. We are on call 24/7, and although I retired from my profession several years ago, this is my second profession. Hiring staff in today's economy is very difficult, especially for a non-profit business, to get a team who is willing to work hard every day for a minimum wage. That takes a special person.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Believe you can do it, and you will. You need to find a core group of staff to support you right from the start. Social media has become an important asset to businesses today. Use it wisely, and don't get too upset with bad reviews. You can't please everyone!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Running a non-profit in today's economy can be discouraging and stressful. So take time for yourself and surround yourself with devoted colleagues and staff. You can't make it in a non-profit business without them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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