July 18, 2024

7 Lessons Pet Ownership Can Teach You About Business


An unexpected post popped up on our village Facebook group. Within seconds, I felt a strong emotional pull. A young dog was in urgent need of a home.

This dog had been discovered alone on the streets, seriously injured. Thankfully, he was rescued and received medical treatment.

The vet’s assistant then contacted Jayne, a local woman who offers dog boarding, enquiring if she knew anyone who could provide a forever home for the dog. Jayne made the Facebook post, I saw it, and knew I had to act fast. The dog shelter was scheduled to pick him up within the hour!

Decision Time

If it had been any other breed, I may have kept scrolling. But the picture stopped me in my tracks. Those soulful eyes, that sleek physique — it was a Saluki, a breed I had long admired.

I typically strive to balance impulse and careful consideration. However, in this instance, I allowed my emotions to guide my decision-making process. Sometimes, it’s okay to listen to your heart and take a leap of faith.

In this post, I’ll share the key takeaways from my journey with Finn, drawing parallels between pet ownership and entrepreneurship.

Lesson 1: Do Your Due Diligence and Consider Startup Costs

Before making any significant decision, conducting due diligence is crucial.

In my situation, I needed to know that my current dog would accept a new family member who was four times her size. After a single, authoritative glance from her, Finn understood she was in charge and I was comfortable to confirm the adoption would go ahead.

Launching a new venture, business or personal, often involves upfront costs. Adopting Finn was no exception.

While there was no adoption fee, other expenses quickly accumulated.

On visiting the vet, I discovered Finn was approximately six months old, not microchipped, and therefore unlikely to have been vaccinated either. I also chose to neuter him to prevent breeding, an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership.

A more significant expense was installing 6-foot fencing around the huge backyard to ensure Finn’s safety.

Recovering from surgery.

Lesson 2: Adapt to the Unexpected

Moving from previously owning gundogs to a sight hound has proven to be more challenging than I expected. I anticipated an adjustment period, but underestimated the unique aspects of raising a sight hound.

Not knowing his previous history, I was in the dark as to what training he had received. He appeared to be house-trained, thank goodness, so that was a good start. However, he didn’t understand basic commands and, despite getting on fine with our little Terrier, he seemed fearful of other dogs.

I learned to keep out of the way when he needed to let off steam or something in the garden spooked him. As one of the fastest dogs on the planet, collisions hurt!

I soon realized I would need help, so I enlisted the help of a recommended dog trainer.

Better to keep out of Finn’s way!

How This Applies to Your Business

Transitioning to working for yourself also requires a willingness to learn new skills, adapt to new situations, and seek help from experts when needed.

This shift can be challenging, but breaking it down into manageable parts makes it more achievable. Start by focusing on essential skills like time management, self-discipline, marketing, and financial management. Don’t be overwhelmed by the list – tackle each skill one at a time, and don’t hesitate to ask for help or seek resources to make the learning process easier.

Just as I adapted to my dog’s unique needs, adapt your business to your audience’s needs. Tailor your content and offerings to be broadly helpful yet sharply focused, and be open to feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Lesson 3: Demonstrate Patience and Perseverance

save pin for later 👆

Training a young dog doesn’t happen overnight. At times we wondered if he had ever lived in a house before, as he didn’t understand how to climb stairs, and would have “zoomies” throughout the whole of the ground floor without taking into account any furniture in his way!

Issuing commands didn’t have any effect. It was as if, at first, he didn’t hear me, and if I raised my voice in exasperation it would frighten him and he would pick up speed!

He was no better on leash. Dashing in all directions, lunging at other dogs, barking at humans — other villagers quickly learned to give him a wide berth.

It was going to take patience and perseverance to deal with this nervous, untrained hound.

How This Applies to Your Business

Dealing with fears or apprehension when setting up your first online business can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to take into account: hosting, security, website development, software integration, finding and keeping customers.

There are risks to negotiate whether you run a business or walk an unruly dog.

Patience and perseverance aren’t just for training pets – they’re key to business success too.Click To Tweet

While hiring professionals like dog trainers or business consultants can be costly, their expertise can contribute significantly to long-term success.

Lesson 4: Develop Personal Connections

The old adage goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This illustrated our adventure perfectly.

If the veterinary nurse responsible for Finn’s care hadn’t been friends with our village’s dog boarder, that Facebook post would have never been written. We would have never known of his need for a new home.

How This Applies to Your Business

Building a strong network is essential for success in many areas, including online business.

Engaging with your followers, creating a sense of community, and establishing yourself as a trusted source of information can lead to valuable collaborations, increased traffic, and loyal customers.

By investing time and effort in building relationships, you can open up a world of opportunities for yourself and your business.

Lesson 5: Celebrate Small Wins

During Finn’s training, we celebrated each small success. He eventually learned to sit on command, which eventually led to anticipating my command when we stopped at the curb. He also understood to move to the grass verge when a car approached during our walks down the lane.

And then there was the time he didn’t freak out when we encountered Millie, the tiny white Terrier on our street — that was a significant breakthrough.

How This Applies to Your Business

Similarly, as an entrepreneur, you’ll come to value incremental progress and small victories.

Maybe you…

  • Secured a meeting with a potential client or investor.
  • Received positive feedback from a customer or user.
  • Hit a milestone in your social media following or website traffic.
  • Successfully implemented a new process or system that made all the difference to sales.

These small wins can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation, helping you stay focused and motivated as you work towards your larger goals.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Click To Tweet

Lesson 6: Keep Learning

Even after Finn’s basic obedience training, I continue to learn and adapt my training methods based on new situations.

For example, like many dogs, he sometimes preferred exploring outdoors over responding to my calls. Instead of getting frustrated, I changed my approach, which eventually worked — during the day.

However, night time was a different matter. The only solution here was to take him out for his last patrol around the garden on a leash. That way I managed to get to bed at a sensible hour without being totally stressed out!

How This Applies to Your Business

As a successful online business owner you can also benefit from continuous education to stay ahead of trends, new technologies and evolving customer needs.

This might involve attending webinars or conferences, enrolling in online courses, or even hiring a coach or mentor. By viewing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, you’ll be better equipped to move forward.

Lesson 7: Find a Supportive Community

One of the most valuable aspects of my journey with Finn was the support I received from fellow saluki owners and enthusiasts. Their shared experiences, advice, and encouragement played a vital role in my success in turning him into a polite, well behaved member of the family.

How This Applies to Your Business

Likewise, in the online business world, connecting with fellow solopreneurs and joining relevant forums or groups can offer valuable insights, networking opportunities, and camaraderie during highs and lows.

Take Action

As I reflect on our journey with Finn, I realize that the lessons I’ve learned extend far beyond pet ownership. They offer valuable insights for anyone starting, or running, an online business.

Whether you’re a pet lover or an aspiring solopreneur, I hope my pet ownership story inspires you to take action, enjoy the journey, and make the most of every opportunity.

The path to success is rarely straightforward, but with patience, perseverance, and a supportive community, you can achieve your dreams.Click To Tweet

If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences, please leave a comment below. Let’s continue the conversation and support each other on our incredible journey.


7 Lessons Pet Ownership Can Teach You About Business

Carol Leather
Carol Leather is head of content at SiteSell. She started her first successful online business, www.needlework-tips-and-techniques.com, with Solo Build It! in 2006 and it’s still going strong. She loves photographing and drawing wildlife. She shares her walks in the English countryside on her new site www.naturewalkswithcarol.com. When she is not busy with all the above, she works on her two art sites! All using Solo Build It!, of course.
Carol Leather

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