Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Candace D'Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation, located in East Galesburg, IL, USA.

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

Pet Boss Nation is a business development group for pet professionals and businesses worldwide. We give you the business advice and tools you need to turn your passions into profits and the community you need to encourage and support your success. When I envisioned Pet Boss Nation, there weren't any groups delivering business content and connection in the way I knew was possible. What I needed in my own pet retail and pet care career didn't exist, so I created it for Pet Bosses everywhere!

At Pet Boss Nation, we believe that pet businesses are a lifeline to creating thriving communities, impacting their local economies, and acting as positive change agents in the lives of pets, customers, employees, and other small business owners. Our clients range from entrepreneurs who manufacture pet products, run a pet sitting business, or own 1-10 pet supply stores, pet boutiques, grooming salons, or dog daycares. They're looking to take their pet business to the next level by learning how to sell more, improve their margins, elevate their marketing, and cultivate the best team to support them.

Tell us about yourself

From failing to scaling, broke to naming my price and selling my businesses, and from being chained to my storefront to traveling the world, I have experienced first-hand the extreme struggles and ultimate successes of pet entrepreneurship since 2004. I owned and operated three brick-and-mortar pet businesses with 27 employees before I turned 30 called Dogaholics. And by the time the recession rolled around in 2010, I was buried in debt—to the tune of $400,000. Despite the outward appearance of success, my health, wealth, and happiness were so far out of reach that I wondered when she'd ever see them again.

But then, the tide changed. I invested in the support I desperately needed from mentors and went on to hit the multiple 7-figure revenue mark. Even after selling three pet businesses, one to Bentley's Pet Stuff and another to Destination Pet, my proudest moment was actually going from a negative $5,000 in the bank on the regular to three months worth of business expenses saved. My original brick-and-mortar retail pet supply stores transformed into multiple revenue streams including retail, grooming, doggy daycare, boarding, training, dog walking, play park memberships, online informational products, books, and merchandise.
The one thing I wished I had but couldn't find was a support system of industry peers who believed in the community over competition, mentors who could guide me, and a resource for the best marketing ideas. So I founded Pet Boss Nation in 2017 because I knew the pet industry was craving connection, needing leadership from the trenches and some business secrets to add to all the love of health and wellness knowledge for animals! Having created a community of 0-4,000+ in a short time, I now teach business growth strategies through coursework, seminars, private sessions, brand partnerships, one-on-one sessions, and industry magazine columns, webinars, and blogs.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've had lots of great milestones and special moments. I feel very fortunate that many of my business ideas have worked out. I think that's my greatest accomplishment - I went from dreaming to doing and thriving in multiple types of businesses. Our clients inspire me every day to keep going. I feel accomplished as a business owner when I can grow the business, donate thousands to charity, pay my team great wages and pay myself, too! The ultimate win is that I work for myself and not someone else. Those are all wins in my book!

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

In this day and age, it's about 1,000 things from the workforce, inflation, supply chain issues, technology, and mental health, but if I have to pick one, I'd say time management, hands down. We wear a lot of hats, and the demands of our business and personal life never stop. Distractions creep in, and it's hard to prioritize and meet deadlines. This can cause us to feel like a failure and wonder why we are doing all of this.

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

We have written a few blog articles on this topic!
First, we recommend evaluating these three things when starting a business: what product/service you're going to provide, where your path of entry will be, and whether your idea is viable. Next, you must protect your business and look at legalities, trademarks, and insurance. Finally, you must find your ideal clients and have a strategy to keep them!

Here are the links to those articles:
Three Questions To Ask Yourself When Starting A New Pet Business
How To Protect Your Pet Business: Legalities, Trademarks, and Insurance
How To Find And Keep Your Ideal Pet Business Client

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

To learn more business-building tips, we invite you to check out our blog and our Boss Your Business Podcast, which is rated in the top 3% of all podcasts worldwide! - Pet Boss Blog and Boss your Business Podcast

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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