The Measure of Success - Groomer to Groomer

The Measure of Success

By Michelle Robinson

What is success?  What does it really mean….to you?  To some, it may mean financial independence; you can buy whatever you want and not bother with the price tag.  It may mean being able to pay the bills as they come in. Everything has a price, and success is no different.

Many times we beat ourselves up because we are not like…so and so.  If only I had her client list or his gift for gab, I could be successful.  Well, the truth is, when you compare yourself to someone else and what you view as “success”, you are setting yourself up to fail.  The grass always looks greener on the other side of the hill, but you don’t know what price “so and so” had to pay to get there.

What does it take to be successful?  That is a loaded question!  Success means different things to different people.  For me, it means being able to have some control in my career.  When I worked at a big box store the groomers had no control over the dogs that were scheduled for them.  The grooming managers were no more than figureheads because they were not allowed to make decisions about the salon.  If a customer decided that they didn’t like the haircut provided, according to the limitations of coat, breed and skin, the groomer took the hit for it.  No matter how many notes were taken, or who witnessed the conversation.  If the customer complained, the groomer lost the commission for the service, and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Being in business for myself and having the option of not dealing with employees was another big plus. Being able to choose which customers I wanted to take, scheduling holidays off, being able to attend birthdays, anniversaries & memorial services, and working 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, to be able to enjoy the profession that I had embarked upon, having people that appreciated a well-groomed pet with regular appointments, instead of being a strip artist for every matted pet that padded my way was another successful feather in my cap. The ability to live, not just exist!

Success is not always attached to a dollar sign or a bright shiny new car/truck or house note.  Success is about overcoming an obstacle no matter how great or small.  It may mean that you set a goal to stop smoking and you made it!  Maybe it was to lose or gain weight, to start your certification, attend a long anticipated function, or to compete openly for the first time.

Whatever it is, it is about something that YOU want!  Never let someone push you into a corner of their limitations.  Unfortunately, we all have people that are camped out around us that sometimes mean well, but they have a way of stealing our thunder.  They will say things like “If I were you, I wouldn’t do that” or “Are you sure you don’t want to just go to XYZ’s shop? They are doing really well and you could make good money there!”  Maybe you have heard this one, “Grooming!  Do you really think you are going to make ANY money playing with dogs?”

Whatever the jab is, make sure that you have clear cut goals for yourself that are realistic.  It is easy to get sandbagged by someone when you are just wandering around waiting for that cream puff client list.  I once heard someone say “if you don’t have a goal, any road will get you there.”  That is so true!  You have to be focused on what you want, and set a plan to get there.

If you want to increase your client list by 3 new clients per week, that’s great!  How do you plan on doing it?  What is your reward for hitting your goal?  Does the reward match the goal?  Let me give you an example of what I did:

When I first started mobile things were tough. I had lost my job, and I found out that due to the housing market, my house was pretty much worthless.  I had no income, no client list, and a savings account. I made a decision to pick myself up by my bootstraps and run as hard as I could.  I purchased a ream of colored paper and turned it into 2,000 flyers.  Every day for 2 weeks I set a goal to hand out 20 flyers a day.  I would strike up conversations with people in the pet food aisle in the grocery store, I went to pet stores, vet’s offices, dog parks, shelters, rescues… anything or anybody that had to do with pets.  At the end of the week, if I had handed out, not just placed flyers on car windows, but actually approached someone and handed them a flyer, I got to have a movie day.  Every day I would leave with 40 flyers in my hand, some days I would comeback with none, others I may have only handed out 10.  It got to the point where it was too easy for me hit 100 contacts a week.  So I raised the stakes and re-set the goal.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Oh My Gosh, your phone must have been ringing off the hook!  You must have filled your appointment book to the max your first week in business!”  If you were thinking that, let me just tell you…..that would be a BIG FAT NOPE!!  I got a lot of curious calls; the ones I like to call “tire kickers”, they just want to price shop and see what is new, but really don’t want to leave where they are.  Was I frustrated?  You bet!  Did I have some thumb-sucking moments?  You would be right again!

This is the thing; I had to make a decision, and it basically boiled down to this: I could do one of two things. I could tuck my tail between my legs and pee on the floor, or I could get back out there and get after it again.  I made a decision that I was never going to work for someone else again.  Even if I had to pull a tub on a bicycle and wash dogs door to door!  That is really what success is all about.  It’s about having a dream and being willing to fight for it when things get tough.

I know how scary it is to be self-supporting and the phone is not ringing or people are canceling appointments, and there are HUGE gaps in your schedule, or when you are on a slim-fast diet because you’re missing meals and the bills are due.  When everything depends on you, and if you fail everything fails; it can be overwhelming.  If I can leave you with one thing, it would be this: Cry today if you need to, pray if you have to, if the powers that be give you another day to fight again, set your bearings, dust yourself off, and fight again!  That is what success is all about. Fighting for your dream!

I believe in you!  You Can Do It! ✂


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