Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicola Smith, Founder of We Wag Toronto, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My company, "We Wag Toronto," was launched in the spring of 2018. We provide On-leash Dog Walking services to busy professionals and families needing help with their dogs. We have a safety-first approach focusing on small pack sizes, and solo dog walks by experienced professional Dog Walkers.
Tell us about yourself
I've always had a great passion for dogs but getting to where I am now and having a business where I work with dogs took some time. I worked in several diverse industries and, at one time, had another business unrelated to pets before realizing what I truly loved and wanted. I wholeheartedly believe that each experience taught me valuable lessons. Such lessons eventually led to my current unique strengths and success.
Before starting this business, I had to return to my roots to find what brings me the most joy. The answer to that question was working with dogs and being outdoors. It was loud and clear. I cannot think of anything more motivating in this world than finding your passion and going all in on it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
A significant accomplishment for me occurred during the lockdowns when the Ministry of Health in Ontario overturned the decision that Dog Walkers were not essential services and allowed us to return to work.
I started a petition which quickly escalated attention and gained over 5,800+ signatures. With that petition, I emailed many government leaders, reached out to radio show hosts and news outlets, and was heard.
This story gained so much attention that on January 19th, 2021, the Ministry of Health (Ontario) deemed us an essential service. We were given the green light to begin working again. To be validated after pushing hard for something I believed in was such an empowering experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest but also, in contrast, one of the most rewarding things about being a business owner in a service-based business is working with people. Expect disappointment, betrayal, and heartbreak.
You have to have tough skin, and you have to be ready to fight, but also, you have to know when and what to let go of. I have met some of the most inspiring individuals on the other end of the spectrum.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be obsessed about what you do.
- Be flexible. Things are constantly changing. Nothing is static. What you may think is the best way right now will likely change over time.
- Know your value, and do not ever undersell yourself.
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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