It was the Spring of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, when I was approached by a young man looking to start a business. A passionate man indeed, at the time, he was in the early stages of thinking through different possibilities. When he came to me, he was interested in the food service industry, but with the unknowns of the pandemic, it seemed to be a risky endeavor. “What else are you passionate about?” I asked.
With minimal startup costs and his passion for animals and specifically dogs, together we decided the young man would start a dog walking business. While he has big dreams of becoming a dog trainer, the lack of training or knowledge in this area at the time, I strongly suggested he start on a smaller scale. He agreed. We collectively decided he needed a marketing plan and for branding purposes, a logo. With an interest in drawing, he decided to draw a logo that spoke to the nature of his business and one that truly represented him as a business owner. To take it a step further, we had one of our Vast Strategies’ graphic designers, Bitsy McCann, digitize it. A huge shoutout to Bitsy for helping to make this logo come to life.
The dog walking business started small, much like many small businesses do, due to limited transportation. This young man did NOT let this get him down, he did not own a car but had a reliable 10-Speed Bicycle. He was on a mission to help his neighbors with their beloved dogs, and nothing was going to get in his way.
Marketing & Determination
Together, we started marketing on a neighborhood Facebook page and customers were limited at first. We were in the middle of a pandemic and most everyone was working from home, however this entrepreneur didn’t give up. He continued to spread the word about his dog walking business. After all, at some point, people were going to head back to work at some point, right?
As days and weeks went by, people didn’t forget about the young man who had offered to walk their dogs when they were home and when his neighbors started going back to work, his business began to grow. Still till this day, his business is continuing to expand, which is truly a sight to see! He cares deeply for his customer and their pets and boy does it show. He spends extra time giving belly rubs and making sure all the dogs are taken on extra-long walks. If the dog is happy, the owners are happy! It is as simple as that. He also writes personal thank you cards to all his customers and is quickly learning what it takes to be a business owner. Learning how to manage time, money and understanding what it takes to work on customer-relationship building is all par for the course of being an entrepreneur; he is lucky to be taking it all in and such a young age.
I am proud to be a part of a successful business startup, but never prouder to say, this story is about my now 9-year-old son Drew and his passion and perseverance. At the ripe age of 7, he came up with an idea all on his own and with family support, was able to make it happen and continues to expand and grow today. At 9 years old, Drew has found something he loves and enjoys, has been able to give generously and saves what he earns. We do allow him to occasionally spend his money on candy and toys, but again, he’s 9!
Morale of the Story
Drew has been able to share with others, what I have always known, that he will do great things in life. He is a light to others and brings joy to people when he is around. This is just the beginning for Drew and his entrepreneurial spirit – to think that he already has a growth strategy and hopes to hire more dog walkers and expand his territory is mind-blowing.
The moral of the story (aside from my son is awesome), is that YOU can do anything. If you have an idea or a passion and want to make money doing it, figure it out, don’t give up. Patience and perseverance will pay off in the long run.