S1/E6 – Strategic Planning and the Power of Intentionality with Doug Keeling

Planning Intentionality Doug Keeling

Many service providers get into business because they have a passion and a special set of skills, and not because they really want to be a business owner or have a corporate or business background. Doug the Dog Guy is on a mission to empower pet care business owners to learn and apply the foundations he learned in business school to help them be better, happier owners. Doug believes that a good business plan can make a huge impact in a business. There is a common misconception that a business plan is something drawn up for investors and banks. Doug is sharing about how it’s a living document crucial for your day-to-day operations.

But, making a business plan doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. 
You can start just by scribbling ideas on a piece of paper or even a napkin. What’s important is that you start! Your business plan is your compass, guiding you through decisions, helping you anticipate challenges, and keeping your business on the right path. It’s not a static document, but a dynamic tool that should grow and evolve with your business.

Things Doug is passionate about:

Having an impact on his clients’ lives
Helping pet professionals avoid the mistakes he’s made
Sharing business foundations and realities with other pet sitters

Topic time stamps:

0:00 Doug Keeling
00:35 Meet the Guest: Doug, the Dog Guy
03:26 Becoming a Pet Sitter & The Importance of Business Education
07:17 The Role of a Business Plan
19:20 The Power of Business Planning
23:05 The Role of a Business Plan in Prioritizing Tasks
26:21 The Importance of Writing Down Your Business Plan
38:19 The Struggles of Hiring & Scaling: ‘New Level, New Devil’
43:29 The Importance of Adapting & Experimenting
50:44 Using your Business Plan as a Strategic Plan
01:01:15 The Importance of Intentionality in Business Planning
01:05:38 The Value of White Space in Being Intentional
01:13:18 Stay In Touch with Doug

Perfectly imperfect transcript generated by Descript:

[00:00:02] Introduction and Welcome

[00:00:02] Doug: don’t overthink it, you know? Uh, keep it simple, you know, keep it simple. Break out the crayons, you know, write it on a napkin. You don’t have to get super intensive. You don’t have to write a whole, manifesto in one sitting. You know, write your mission statement this week. Next week, define your ideal client avatar. The week after that, work on your values. You can piece it all together over time, but it’s all about being intentional. It’s all about being intentional and just keeping the ball moving. 

[00:00:35] Meet the Guest: Doug, the Dog Guy

[00:00:35] Morgan: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Lucky Pup Podcast, where we are taking big ideas and weaving them together in _____a way that makes the big picture relatable, inspirational, and hopefully educational too. You’ll find candid on authentic conversations about the struggles we’ve encountered as we try to live more full and happy lives today.

My guest is Doug of Doug, the dog guy, and he is here to talk with us about business planning and the big picture and why even if business planning or strategic planning is hard, it is so important, and I can’t wait for you to meet Doug and all that we talk about today. So let’s dig right in. Here’s Doug. 

Well thank you Doug, so much for coming on the Lucky Pup Podcast today. And I think that you have so much skill and so much just to share with people, whether it’s people who are pet sitters or just regular, you know, what I call like everyday business owners, people who aren’t in the pet space. I think that this conversation especially can be really helpful for a lot of different people. 

[00:01:33] Doug: Oh man. Well, I, I can’t say thank you enough for, for having me, Morgan, like I’m so excited to be here, to be talking to you, and I’m just so excited about your new podcast. This is awesome,

[00:01:44] Morgan: Oh, thank you. Well, and I think a lot of people probably know you Doug, as Doug the Dog Guy, and you have your own YouTube channel and you were this year’s Pet Sitter of the Year. So congratulations on that. And probably not farfetched to say that you’re pretty well known within the pet sitting world .

And um, I just think that people have gotten a really good insight into kind of your knowledge bank and I’m really excited to get to talk with you a little bit more about that 

[00:02:08] Doug: Yeah, you left some big shoes to fill with the pet sitter of the year position,

[00:02:12] Morgan: you know, I had a lot of fun and I know that you have done such a great job with sharing your skillset, and that was the thing that I loved most about being pet sitter of the year. I love getting to meet people, but also a little platform that you get to share some really cool things.

And I was really big on sharing about burnout, and I love that you’re really sharing a lot of business knowledge, because I think a lot of people who get into business, whether it’s a pet sitting business or really, I would say probably any kind of service-based business is people don’t get into it because they really wanna be business owners, but because they have a passion and they have a skillset and they wanna share that with people.

And so sometimes that business education side is kind of the, the second fiddle you could say to the passion that they bring to the business. But then that also leaves a lot of people getting burned out and overworked and . Maybe working themselves into a place where they really aren’t excited to be, because they just didn’t have that kind of, again, business foundation knowledge and strategy.

And I think that’s a lot of what you with because went to school with, you know, to learn about business and business administration. And so for you, you had that knowledge. And so how has that maybe helped you as a pet sitter? People think, oh gosh, well you don’t go to school to be a pet sitter, ,but you know, you can really bring some of those other skills 

[00:03:25] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:03:26] Becoming a Pet Sitter & The Importance of Business Education

[00:03:26] Doug: Well, I’ll say that when I first started pet sitting, I was actually going to school to be a pilot. I was in, uh, flight training, and I had no clue about anything to do with the business world. You know, I didn’t know anything about anything, but I knew that I wanted to spend time around animals. I knew that I needed to make money to pay my bills. I knew that I wanted a dog of my own, but at the time, I couldn’t afford a dog of my own. So it was kind of like all of these stars just aligned where I could fit my needs of making money and paying my bills with my passions of being around animals. It just kind of evolved naturally into an actual business. And I mean, I, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur or a business owner or anything, but I kind of immediately fell in love with it as soon as soon as I started to get clients and started to think about, uh, the actual strategy behind how to attract clients and how to structure your services and, uh, pricing appropriately in your market and all this kind of stuff. It’s like, uh, I don’t know. It, it’s like an art form almost, you know, there’s a science behind it, but it’s, it’s also an art form at the same time. And, uh, so I actually fell in love with it so much that I quit, uh, my pilot training classes and switched my degree to a whole different school and everything to get the business administration degree. And, uh, you know, it’s just been an incredible ride since then.

[00:05:01] Morgan: so That was pretty forward thinking of you, right? To be like, I wanna do this thing and therefore I’m gonna go and get some of that education so I can, you know, do it quote unquote better, right?

Like, you know, not like, oh, if you don’t have a business degree you’re doing business poorly, but, but you were like, Hey, I feel like I need to learn something . Or, you know, why did you decide to go to back to 

[00:05:21] Doug: Yeah, I mean the, the first year really, the first couple of years for my business was a struggle. I mean, it was a real grind and I just made every mistake in the book, to be completely honest with you, I mean, I, like I said, I didn’t know anything about anything, but I knew that I wanted to do this long term.

I mean, I just getting paid to hang out with animals and, and make an impact on their lives and their families’ lives and, and through our services clients are able to accept promotions at work or take the vacation they’ve wanted to always take because of the services that we are providing.

And, and I knew that that is something that I wanted to do long-term and I knew that I couldn’t do it long-term if I didn’t get a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of skillset under my belt. And it just seemed like the. The natural next step was to switch schools, you know, go get the business degree. And I know like, just while we’re talking about college degrees, there’s a lot of pros and cons there. I think, especially in today’s society, you hear 

[00:06:30] Morgan: mm-hmm. 

[00:06:30] Doug: kinds of different stuff. I think we both grew up with parents where, you know, it was expected that we would go to college, we would get a degree.

[00:06:38] Morgan: Yeah, there was no question. There was not like, oh, what are you gonna, it was, no, you’re gonna go, you’re going to college, and which one would you 

[00:06:44] Doug: Right. Exactly. Exactly. There was no question about it. So, But, uh, , a lot of the stuff that I learned getting my business degree didn’t, doesn’t fit exactly to how I run my business day to day. But I learned some overall concepts that really just helped push me in the right direction and kind of frame my mindset around things. You know, especially when it comes to, uh, how to look at my overall market and compare my business to other businesses and what they are doing, comes to Right. 

[00:07:17] The Role of a Business Plan

[00:07:17] Doug: Your overall business plan, I know that’s something we’re gonna talk a little bit about today, but, that’s where I learned a little bit about a business plan, the importance of having one and some of the things to include in it. You know, I learned in these classes and like I said, it just, um, Really helped push me in the right direction. 

[00:07:36] Morgan: I love that. Yeah. So I came at Business , so I like to joke, I was in Future Business Leaders of America Club in high school, not because I cared at all about business, but because it was like a social activity and I got to go to conferences, . And that’s literally the only reason why I signed up. Um, and I always said like, I’m never gonna be an entrepreneur.

I’m never gonna be a business owner. Like, I was gonna go to architecture school and I was gonna work in a firm and, you know, maybe someday I could become partner or something, but that was like the furthest thing from my mind. And I’ve learned so much about business through architecture school, which, did like, maybe one business class in architecture school.

It was called Professional Practice. And it was just kind of this . An add-on class that nobody took all of that seriously. ’cause it was like contracts and, you know, like liability and all of these things that sounded terrible at the time, which is probably one of the reasons why I’m not in architecture anymore.

um, you look at, I remember my professor said, um, if you look at most businesses, they think that their business is the, the, the service that they provide. But really your business is that, you know, the why behind your business. So he like, he used the example of, um, the rail business. So if all of these rail companies thought that their business was like moving goods instead of being a rail line, they would’ve invented airplanes and over the road trucking and all of these things and all these major rail companies wouldn’t have just kind of died off. And you know, it’s interesting when you think about that mindset that

You can bring from these other things that you’ve learned and bring them into your pet sitting business and apply them in a way that really helps you go, like you said, the long term. And I think that’s something, especially for a lot of pet sitters, again, they might just get into business because, hey, I started doing this on the side and it went kind of well, and I got more clients and then I could quit my other job and I could do this full time.

But when we think about, it’s something like only 50% of businesses make it past five years, and only 25% of businesses make it past 15 years. And you think about, okay, if I wanna be doing this for the long term, how do I become that 25%? You know, how do I keep going and do this in a way where I’m not burnt out?

And I do enjoy my clients and I enjoy the work that we’re doing. And I think that you have brought up some really great points about how creating a good business plan can actually answer those questions. 

[00:10:00] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I, I think you made a couple really great points there that, uh, I never viewed my services as pet sitting and dog walking. I’ve never really thought of myself as a pet sitter or, or a dog walker, as crazy as that sounds, because. I’ve always viewed it as, you know, my dog walking services are what’s going to allow a person to go accept that promotion at work or go have drinks with their friends after work or whatever it may be. I, my pet sitting services is allowing them the opportunity to go backpack across Europe or, you know, do these, these lifelong dreams that they have held. And, you know, it’s not about petit or dog walking to me, it’s something so much more than that. You know, they’re, we’re really making an impact on these people’s lives through what we do. Um, and I think kind of viewing everything, everything about our business through that lens is really important. 

[00:11:05] Morgan: I totally agree and You know, that’s like the purpose, right? I think if you, my opinion, um, if you don’t have that kind of underlying purpose and those, that kind of mission of your business, it’s a lot easier to just throw in the towel when it gets really hard because business is hard.

And I think there’s sometimes this misconception of like, well, if I get my business to X stage of growth, it’s going to be easier. And I have found that to not be true. . I don’t know about you , but it’s hard no matter what. You know, it’s hard even when you have people helping you. Um, and it’s so easy to say, you know, this is not worth it anymore.

But when you have that purpose and those kinda, that mission and those values that underline your business, I think it’s a lot easier to see a reason to keep going maybe when things get hard. 

[00:11:57] Doug: Oh yeah. Yeah. And especially as a pet sitter or a dog walker, you know, there’s days where, you know, we may be out in the field walking in the heat or walking in the snow, you know, for 12 hours a day or more. And we may, you know, we, we build these relationships with pets and their families and we see them go through things and, and that impacts us on so many different levels. Um, I know we’ve both had instances where we’ve cried in clients’ driveways and you know, that I, if you don’t have a true purpose for what you are doing and a true mission for your overall business and values outlined to keep you going on those long, hard days, then it will be really easy to just say, Man, I’m throwing in the towel.

I’m gonna go work for somebody else. I’m going to a cubicle. You know, and we, we’ve all been there. We’ve had those days, but to me it’s, it’s always comes back down to, you know, this is the impact I’m making on my community. This is the mission that I am on. It’s not about the pets that are the dog walk.

It’s about this greater vision. And, you know, kind of circling that back around to your actual business plan. That’s where I always, uh, advise people to start with your business plan. I think when you think about business planning, it can get really overwhelming, you know? Uh, I think a lot of people think you only need a business plan if you’re getting investors or, you know, uh, getting a business loan and they think that it has to be this exact, uh, correct format and all this kind of stuff.

And I’d say throw all that out the window, you know, as pet sitters and dog walkers, I. We don’t need a business plan to present to the bank or to investors. We need a business plan that is going to keep us on track and to allow us to really reverse engineer our dream. ’cause if we don’t have a strategy and we don’t have a plan, and we don’t have some of these values and different things outlined, then we’re just gonna be kind of bouncing from one thing to the next. And if you allow yourself to do that, I mean, not only is it gonna slow your growth, but you may wake up one day and say, I. Dang, this isn’t where I thought I was going. I don’t wanna be here. You have to be really intentional with every decision that you make. And I mean, the one, one of my, uh, favorite analogies about business, I say this in a lot of my YouTube videos, is that I think of my business as a painting, every stroke of your brush is gonna affect the entire canvas, even if it’s just a little tiny brush stroke in the bottom corner of the canvas. You are changing the entire painting. Everything fits together. And, and that’s how we should think of our business. 

[00:14:45] Morgan: I totally agree on that. And I come at it a very similar way, but uh, an example of a building. So like, I designed buildings for six years and I think of my business like a building, right? So you change the color of the paint on the walls and that’s gonna affect how the floor looks, you know?

And you don’t necessarily go at it and thinking like, oh, like I just would like a new color on the walls. Cool. But do you realize like what ripple effects that’s gonna have? Or like, I’m gonna put a window over here. Well now do you recognize what kind of, again, what effects that’s gonna have? I see a lot in, so Facebook groups or people asking for business advice, and it’s like, well, I just need advice on this one little thing.

And it’s like, well, they don’t realize that that one little thing is actually connected to about 20 other decisions, but they’re just, they’re really looking at it kind of piecemeal. And we really need to look at businesses like as a system, as a painting, kind of as this larger whole . And like you said, every little piece, it makes a difference somewhere else, even if we don’t recognize it upfront. 

[00:15:48] Doug: right? Yeah. I, I just saw a post on Facebook yesterday that was saying, you know, you don’t need to post more content. You don’t need, uh, to, to have more accounts on these different platforms. You don’t need more relationships with other businesses. You don’t need software. You need an overall strategy. That, you know, is encompassing of everything, to make sure all of the points connect together in this way. You know, and it, it’s so easy to you, you see these posts on Facebook and especially in the pets that are dog walker, Facebook groups of people asking for advice on different things. And people will comment on there saying, well, you need to do this, or It has to be this, blah, blah. And it’s never that cut or dry. It’s never that black or white. There’s always so many other things that you have to take into consideration.

And that’s why I love putting things into writing. You know, for me, you know, I, I carry this notebook, uh, with me everywhere, every day, and I’m constantly writing things down and jotting things down and drawing them out to make sure that before I roll anything out, before I make a decision, before I sign up for this or do that, That all of the points align and connect with my overall strategy that’s, you know, leading me in the right direction.

[00:17:12] Morgan: And it’s so easy to get distracted by things like I , I’ve, I have a lot of stuff on. , I’ve got my pet. you don’t say it right. I’ve got, I kind of joke that whenever I write my, my, my name or like what business title out, I, I started putting ET all Behind. Like when you write a, like a re research paper and there’s too many authors to list, they write ET all.

And so now I’m like Lucky Pub Adventures et all because we do pet sitting. I’ve got memorial candles. Um, my husband does aquarium maintenance. I’ve got this podcast now. Like, there’s so many things going on and like I’ve wanted to start this podcast. For probably a couple years now, but I’ve just been waiting ’cause it wasn’t the right time and I knew that once I did it, I needed to commit to it.

Like right, you start a podcast, people expect there to be more than a couple episodes . And so, you know, trying to fit this in in a way where I feel like I can commit to, you know, continuing this forward. But it’s so hard because I think especially in the pandemic, like in 2020 as pet sitters especially got really concerned because they, we saw a huge loss of income because all of a sudden people are staying home, they’re not traveling, they’re working from home. you know, but it really changed how we had to look at our business.

And so for a lot of us, we maybe started offering other things. Like I, you see all the time, oh, you have to diversify. You have to diversify. But if you don’t have that intention behind it, all you’re doing is giving yourself more work. Like, for a while I started doing, um, I kind of did a soft launch on dog treats because I love baking.

And I thought, oh, this will be a great fit. And it was fantastic for Covid times when we had a little bit less work, but as soon as work started picking back up again, I was like, I can’t do this unless I am gonna buy all of this equipment, you know, to make my life easier. And I was like, Nope. , end of end of dog treats,

And so, like you said, like of . how do you look at that and say, this is what I can actually manage, because it’s one thing to put it on paper and to say, oh yeah, I can totally have a dog walking company and a memorial candle business and do, you know, all of these things.

[00:19:20] The Power of Business Planning

[00:19:20] Morgan: But when we look at in like, how do you find the realistic I, I kind of struggle to be honest with making business plans and making, um, you know, like company budgets and things like that because it feels like a guessing game, Doug. It feels like I’m just going to assume what the future is gonna bring and I have this little magic ball and I’m going to, you know, know exactly what’s coming and therefore I can make a plan for that.

But that’s not real life, right? 

 so like I can think, oh man, I’m gonna hire a bunch of dog walkers and we’re gonna start a venture walks and we’re gonna start doing a taxi business. Like how do you bring some realism into making 

[00:20:01] Doug: Oh man. This is really important to me because I, I, I have like a squirrel brain 

[00:20:07] Morgan: Yeah, you, this is why you and I get along well, 

[00:20:10] Doug: Totally. 

[00:20:12] Morgan: we have a lot of ideas up in our brains and trying to find the right time. You know, I have a, I had a business coach where she said, you know, right strategy, right time. So just because something’s a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean this is the right time to implement that idea. So how do you bring that into a 

[00:20:28] Doug: Yeah. To, to me, it starts with my mission statement, you know, every single ’cause I constantly have ideas flying around in my head. I’m constantly jotting new ideas down. And I’m like, you, I, I, I want to bake the dog treats and I want to, uh, you know, drive dogs across the country and I wanna you know, have my team of pet sitters and dog walkers and the YouTube channel and all this different kind of stuff. And it’s not always feasible. So, if I can bring it all back down to this mission statement and say, does this uphold my overall mission, yes or no? If it’s a yes, then I can consider it and take it to the next round of evaluations, you know, but if it’s a no, then even if I love the idea, and it sounds really exciting right now, if it’s a no, then I’ve gotta throw it out. And that just makes my decision making process a lot easier in and of itself. 

But then within my business plan, you know, I outlined some kind of broad things like my mission, my vision, my ideal client avatar, their demographics, you know, some things like that. But within this business plan, I actually have a five year goal. I always have a five year goal, and I view my business plan as a, a living, breathing document, you know, and I actually set aside a whole week at the end of every year to sit down and be very intentional about reviewing and revising my business plan every year. And within this five year. Goal, I am able to break it down and say, okay, I know if I wanna be here within five years, then this is what I need to have done in four years.

And if I’m gonna have that done in four years, this is what I need to have done in three years and two years and one year. And so if I know if I have to have this task completed by the end of this year, what do I have to do each month to get there? And then once I have my monthly tasks written out, it’s like, what do I have to do each week? And then once you have your weekly tasks written out, it’s what do I have to do each day? I know without a doubt that for me to achieve this five year goal that I have to roll this, you know, change to our services out this week. I’m thinking five years ahead on everything. So again, I’m bring in all these new ideas, all this different stuff I have on my head.

I first bring it to that mission statement, and then I look at this five year goal and I break it down and I say, Does it make sense? You know, will this get me to where I need to be in a year? 

[00:23:05] The Role of a Business Plan in Prioritizing Tasks

[00:23:05] Doug: Or should I push it off a year? Should I take it off the board entirely? You know, and, and you can really start evaluating this stuff based off of actual data and metrics and look at your calendar and just see do you even have the time for it? I think that’s the, that’s the situation that you and I probably both find ourselves in the most, is like, I wanna do all these things, uh, but there’s no time left on the calendar. So that makes it a pretty easy decision that even if I love the idea and I get really excited about it, if there’s not time, then I can’t do it. 

[00:23:40] Morgan: Yeah, it’s, that is, I think the hardest thing for me as a business owner is, and honestly, as a person, is just understanding like, what is a reasonable amount of stuff I can get done in a day. And so, especially when I look at my calendar, like my pet sitting calendar, shout out to time to pet, um, it has , it has all of my pet sitting services that I need to complete during the day.

Then I’ll try to put on my personal, you know, things too. So if I’m getting a haircut, if I, you know, recording a podcast, like all of that goes on the calendar, but it’s really easy to look at that calendar. . And to forget that like I have to eat and that I have to like go to the grocery store and I’ve gotta take my dogs for a walk, like my own personal dogs ’cause they sometimes get forgotten about when I’m walking everybody else’s dog. You know, like all of these life things. So I look, I look at my calendar and it’s like, oh, I’ve got three hours. Well, not really because I have to fill those with all these other things that I need to do, but I’ve gotten better about for my to-do list. I try to only have like one thing each day that I’m gonna try to get done. It’s actually a book called The One Thing and it, I found it to be really enlightening of. Yeah.

[00:24:54] Doug: I am, I’m. 

[00:24:57] Morgan: Make a note. ’cause we’re gonna have a, we’re gonna have a book club later. Um, and it’s, yeah, it’s called 

The One Thing and it’s written by Gary Keller the big, um, the real estate company.

And his big thing was you only have one thing to do for a day. That way. If you can get that one thing done, it’s a success. And if you can get more than one thing done, that’s cool, but we’re not pushing ourselves to be like, well, I got six things to do today and if I only get one done, well one, you might not do that one thing super well because you’re trying to, you know, shove all these other things in as well.

But it just really helps you like think about what is actually feasible for the day. And it needs to be a reasonable item. , you know, it can’t be like, write an entire business plan. Well, that’s probably too much for one day, but like you said, start with your mission, start with your values, you know, and then kind of work on from there.

But if we’re only trying to thi do one thing in a day, it makes it a lot more 

[00:25:52] Doug: Yeah. 

[00:25:54] Morgan: When someone’s looking at 

that business plan thinking, okay, well here’s where I wanna be in five years, or here where here’s where I wanna be at the end of the year. Maybe you know that you have a big change coming.

Maybe it’s a family change. Maybe it’s, you know, a life change or a business change. Maybe one of your best employees is leaving. You know, how do you kind work that backwards? But if you can say, I’m only gonna focus on one thing per day, it would make it a little bit easier to not, um, be too ambitious. in your yearly goals,

[00:26:21] The Importance of Writing Down Your Business Plan

[00:26:21] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. On that note, I, I love the idea of the one thing I’m gonna read this book. I always love your book recommendations, But, uh, on, on this note, you know, I always have a weekly to-do list and I time block everything. Same just like you on time to pet, and I put. Everything on there and, and I hold myself to it. I scan in and out of, uh, my personal appointments as if they were a dog walker or a drop-in visit when it comes to like this, this recording, it was on my time to pet schedule and it’s all I had scheduled for this morning. 

But for my weekly tasks, I have, uh, a quadrant. It’s the urgency and importance quadrant, 

[00:27:04] Morgan: Hmm. That’s a good 

[00:27:06] Doug: I love it. And I know that if I ever have more than one task in the urgent and important

block that I’ve got too much on my plate, I need to reevaluate. 

[00:27:19] Morgan: So you do that for each, for each week. So like every week you’re writing 

yourself a new little quadrant to say, okay, this is the important things that need to get done this week. These are maybe the urgent things, but they’re not super important. And then that’s 

[00:27:30] Doug: Yeah, that’s how I prioritize all of my tasks. And, you know, uh, life happens, you know, sometimes you won’t get to every single thing on your list, you know, and it’s some, then it’ll roll over to the next week. That happens from time to time. But I really try to hold myself to this, what is urgent and what’s important, and it just really helps me prioritize.

And if I don’t give myself a way to prioritize tasks like that, then it gets overwhelming for me. ’cause then I’ll look at my time to pet schedule and I’ll see, oh my God, I have to do this and this and this, and this and this. And then, and then you, you start spiraling and the anxiety creeps in. And then it’s like, you don’t even know where to start at that point.

But if you can say, this is the most urgent, this is the most important, you know, it’s, it brings clarity to the whole situation. 

[00:28:20] Morgan: Yeah. I love that. Especially doing it each week. Um, I, one of my struggles is I tend to think like daily as opposed to like weekly. And so sometimes, um, it’s really easy also for something that I think is maybe more urgent, but less important to kind of sneak in. and then at the end of the day it’s like, oh gosh, I have this thing tomorrow that I have to prepare for and I forgot to prepare for it earlier in the day. So now my evening time, which I should be spending with my dogs and my family are now spent, you know, working when I should be having some like personal time. Um, and I love that you mentioned this quadrant. So I had a business coach who told me to take that quadrant and apply it to business, but apply it to the items that you think you want to do in your business.

This might work into a business plan in terms of it’s instead of like important and urgent, it’s how easy or hard is a task, and then what kind of revenue is that task gonna bring in. So if you have something that is not gonna take a lot of time, but it’s gonna bring in a lot of revenue, that’s something that might wanna get moved up on the list.

Where if you have something that’s gonna take a lot of effort, a lot of planning, but it’s not gonna bring in a lot of revenue, maybe that needs to go further down on the list. And so, For those of us who do have a lot of ideas that we really want to implement, thinking about that might be another way to help, um, figure out what to do next or what should get put on the business plan for this year, but maybe needs to 

[00:29:46] Doug: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And remember that you’re running a marathon, not a sprint. You know, I think a lot of the business owners that I talk to feel like they have to be doing all of the things right now, you know? And, And, yeah, all at once, and it’s just not possible. I mean, you will burn yourself out trying to live that way. And it’s okay to say like, yeah, this is a great idea and it does fit my mission, and it does help me get to my five year plan, but not today. I can get to this in six months and it’ll be just as good six months from now as it would now, probably even better, because then you can actually put in the time and effort and energy that it actually needs and deserves

[00:30:28] Morgan: Yes, so , because I have a book for everything, , there’s actually a book called Procrastinate on Purpose. I think that’s the title. If you have Audible or the, the monthly subscription version of Audible, it’s included, at least it used to be included in the free book that you could get.

And as a procrastinator, I loved that book because it, it gave, in a way, it gave permission to procrastinate. And essentially what he is saying is much like what you just said is the longer you have to think about something and the longer you have to kind of noodle on it and decide when to do it, the better it’s actually going to be.

And so it’s again, like right time. And if you push something until the end and you push something to the deadline, you have given yourself more opportunities to consider things. So like when I do a presentation, I know Doug, you are also like, this is, we tend to push the deadline as to when we submit this presentation.

And it’s actually a good thing because it gives yourself more time to think of all of the ideas and give yourself a chance to put all these things together. And obviously we still need deadlines. ’cause if we can procrastinate forever, nothing ever gets done. But there is, there is some benefit to procrastinating if you’re doing it intentionally.

Not intentional, procrastination not helpful, but intentional procrastination 

[00:31:51] Doug: Yeah. And something that I’ve seen for myself through this is a lot of the time, like I’ll have this idea, and in the moment it’s like, it seems great and it fits all of my different criteria, but then I give myself a month or six months to think about it. And as that time goes by and as I have the time to think about all the different aspects of it and the, the overall painting that is my business, I start to realize that yeah, not that great of an idea after all, you know? 

[00:32:21] Morgan: Yeah. So do you find that having, and I’m gonna use the word have like in quotes, do you find that having to put this into a business plan and everything a goes into your strategy, right? as everything goes into the business plan, do you find that having to make yourself put things in a business plan helps you or makes you make better decisions? Because it’s a little bit less impulsive and it is a 

[00:32:43] Doug: absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, just the act of physically writing something down, you know, makes it so much more real and concrete and allows you to truly process it mentally in a different way. You know? So if you don’t write it down, it’s just an idea, you know, flying around in your brain. It’s not real. And just, and that’s why I carry this notebook with me everywhere, you know, is I, and, and you can do this on no apps on your phone, if that’s how your brain works. I am just Kind of old school. And I, I like pen to paper, you know, and it makes it so real and concrete to, to scribble it out and to draw little diagrams and all of that kind of stuff.

And that’s how my business plan is. My business plan is not this exact formatted, you know, masterpiece or anything. It’s pieces of notebook paper and printer paper that are handwritten, you know, all just kind of shoved in a folder. And then at the end of each year, you know, I sit down and I, I formalize it, I do type it out. I do have somewhat of a structure, but on my day-to-day stuff, it’s very real. It’s very in the moment. And like I said, just the act of writing it down makes me think about it in a different way. And that’s one of my biggest things that I wish I could tell any business owner is to carry a notebook and write things down.

[00:34:09] Morgan: So I think think it’s a, when they hear the word you know, double spaced, you know, word doc, properly formatted with the right indentations and bullet list and all these things. And you’re saying, you know, maybe I do that at the end of the year. But as the year goes, like you said, it’s, maybe it’s a napkin, maybe it’s on a piece of paper, maybe it’s the gas receipt that you just had. You had a great idea, you had to write it down real quick and you know, shove that in a folder. Um,

I love that. ’cause I think people get really intimidated again, especially if people don’t come from maybe a corporate background they think business plan, they think fancy, they think formatted. Um, and you’re saying it doesn’t have to be that way. 

[00:34:50] Doug: That’s, yeah, I mean, that’s exactly what I’m saying. And I think the whole way I came into this is that I didn’t have the business background. You know, I, and I knew that I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning, and I knew that I wanted to do it better. I knew I needed to learn, and everything got really overwhelming for me when I just had all of this in my head, you know?

And it, it just helped cure so much of my own personal anxiety just to sit down and write it out, you know? And at that point, I didn’t know anything about a business plan. I knew nothing about formatting or any of this kind of stuff. I mean, I just sat down with a piece of printer paper and some crayons and just started Pouring my heart and soul and all of my dreams and goals onto this page, and then it turned into all of this. But it, it gave me a reference point. You know, it’s, having it in writing really gives you a reference point to bring everything back to 

[00:35:50] Morgan: I love that. And I, I will admit, I tend to, um, be more in the theoretical realm versus like the analytical, you’re, you have much more of an analytical brain than I do. Um, and for people so everybody doesn’t have to do things the same way. Right. I think in business, a lot of times we are told, you know, by the inner webs, everyone who has a keyboard can tell you the way you should be running your business.

And You know, a lot of people, there’s not room for nuance. And you know, people say, oh, you have to do it this way. You have to do it that way. And really what they’re saying is, well, this is my personal experience and this is the way I think you should do this. But every person is so different, and we all have different skills, and we all have different gifts.

Not all of us are analytical. Not all of us are great people, managers or project managers, and not all of us are super creative. But you can create a business plan that fits your way of looking at the world and your way of looking at business, because it 

[00:36:49] Doug: Right, right. And there are so many different ways to go about everything. It, it in any industry, but especially in the pet sitting and dog walking industry in our world, you know, there’s so many different ways to market your services to what do your services include and not include, you know, your policies.

When are you, are you gonna charge a, a late payment fee? Your what’s your cancellation fee? All this different kind of stuff. And y yesterday I had someone ask me, he, he’s starting a new business in Minnesota and he asked me, uh, Doug, how did you get your first five clients? And I told him, it doesn’t matter how I got my first five clients, because I am in a completely different part of the country than you. Uh, my personality is different than yours. My services are different than yours. My ideal client that I’m trying to attract is different from the ideal client that you are trying to attract. So what I did to get my first five clients, It doesn’t matter. That’s not going to help you. I’ll tell you about it if you wanna hear about it, but it’s gonna be a waste of everybody’s time. like, let’s talk about you and what your goal is and what, who your ideal client is, and then we can start figuring out how to get your clients. 

[00:38:00] Morgan: Mm-hmm. ..Yeah. It’s that, it’s that system again, right? Or that, um, you know, everyone tells you, hire and you need to, the only way your business can ever be successful is if you hire this big team. And, and it’s like, well, probably not, because again, we’re all individuals and how we want to run things is gonna be completely different.

[00:38:19] The Struggles of Hiring & Scaling: ‘New Level, New Devil’

[00:38:19] Morgan: And I think, um, you’ve talked about building all that into a business plan. So yeah, if you wanna hire, what kind of people do you wanna hire? What do you want them to, you know, what kind of work do you want them to do? I think especially people start talking about, oh, I wanna hire a manager. I wanna hire an admin.

What kind of work should I get them to do? Well, what do you want them to do? And I think, I don’t know, is that something that you put into your business plan? Like how do you, how do you implement kind of that, like that growth or maybe that 

[00:38:46] Doug: totally, totally. I mean, on, on the note of hiring, you know, if you. Are not optimized on your scheduling and your route planning and have your services priced appropriately. And if you’re not attracting clients that are okay with change of having different team members come in and out, if it’s it, it all fits together.

You know, and you have to have this foundation of the correct pricing, the correct policies, the correct scheduling clients, all of this to be able to allow you to hire. And that’s, um, you know, I, I have a hiring core Sal and I, that’s one of my specialties is that I help people grow a team of pet sitters and dog walkers. I have 30 employees myself. And it, it, it, it all starts with this foundation. And that comes down to the business plan. When you’re outlining your services, when you’re outlining your pricing, your policies, all of this kind of stuff has to uphold. A, a team-based approach, you know, and if it doesn’t, it’s not going to work effectively. 

Um, and that’s, that’s a situation that I found myself in is, you know, I started as a solo pet sitter. I had no plans of ever hiring and growing a team. And when I started to hire, um, I had everything just totally screwed up. I had really, really low prices to where I was not able to pay my staff enough, um, for it to even make sense for them to go do the job. And then I didn’t have any profit margin left over at the end. And then, like, my scheduling policies, my payment policies, all of this kind of stuff didn’t fit with having to pay employees, you know, for their time and their effort. So when I started hiring, I had to take a step back and reevaluate. Everything. And this is when I really started getting serious about the business plan and really starting putting things into writing and creating this overall strategy that, that led me to a five-year goal. 

But I mean, you mentioned at the beginning, uh, of this that, you know, things don’t necessarily get easier or better as you grow and as you scale and, and do these different things. And that is definitely something that I have seen within my own business. You know, I, I didn’t have a plan to hire at the beginning, but then as soon as I brought on my first employee, I was like, I need all the employees I’m. More, The better, you know? And that, that’s how I led my business for several years.

That was a key part of every decision that I made. And all of my, my five-year plan, everything came down to, I wanted to have the biggest team of pet sitters and dog walkers in the southeast period. And as soon as I got to about 30 employees, I said, oh, I don’t know about this 

And you, you, you said something, uh, a few months ago to me that has just, I, I’ve taken this phrase from you and ran with it. I love this. You said new level, new devil. 

[00:41:57] Morgan: Yes. And I got that from Cindy Cork, who is the owner of Scout and Zoe’s Treats. So shout out to Cindy. She said that to me once at, um, at Super Zoo last year actually. And ’cause we were talking with another LA lady who was looking to wholesale, ’cause she does like online collars and, and harnesses and things like that.

And she’s looking like, oh, I’d really like to start wholesaling. Is that a good idea? And Cindy said, well, new level, new devil, you know, it could be a good idea, but it doesn’t necessarily make your life easier because there’s new details that come with this. And so it’s not easier, but it’s different. So for people who maybe who want something different, um, again, maybe their skillset is on like the analytical side and they, or they really love training a team. You know, you can take that new level and kind of niche in on what your skillset is. But 

[00:42:48] Doug: it it, doesn’t, it doesn’t. And I, I mean, shout out to Cindy for that. I mean, I love that phrase, and it’s, it’s so true. And, you know, and that was my mindset. I thought if I could have all these employees doing all the dog walks and all the pet sets and all the scheduling, Then my life will just be wonderful. And then all of a sudden when you have, you know, different managers dealing with different things and you have all these different personalities and all these different skill sets and all these different moving pieces and parts, it’s like, ah, I don’t know. There might be another way to go about this. And, and, and, and everybody’s, uh, skillset is different. Everybody’s desire is different.

[00:43:29] The Importance of Adapting & Experimenting

[00:43:29] Doug: And I think kind of the, the, the point, the key, the key takeaway for anybody listening from this is that it’s okay if you sit down with your crayons and you write out your business plan and you say, you know, this is my five-year goal. And then you get there and you decide it wasn’t where you wanted to be and you wanna change course, that’s totally fine. And that’s, that is the truth for so many different people and so many different businesses. You know, and it’s okay. The, the, what’s important is to just keep moving. You know, put one foot in front of another, keep revising your plan. You know, remember that it’s a living, breathing document. You can go back and tweak, tweak things and change things and make things more optimized as you learn. ’cause your entire mindset about everything is going to shift entirely. As you have more experiences with clients and more experiences with other businesses and all of this kind of stuff, your overall mindset at a core level will change. .And that’s okay. 

[00:44:39] Morgan: Yeah, and I know Doug, you and I are really comfortable with, I like to say your business is an experiment and you gotta try something to decide whether you like it or not, right? You had to try. Getting employees before, and you did things differently, right? So you grew your business with 30 employees and then you regrown your business again.

And I think that for a lot of people, that’s really scary. So for people who really like certainty or people who really like, you know, to know what’s coming tomorrow, the idea of experimenting is like, no way. Why, why, why would I ever put myself in a position to experiment? And, um, I think that we can have some of our best ideas when we experiment.

And I think when I like to experiment intentionally, so like I said, I did uh, treats for a while. I did a soft experiment on treats. I made them myself in my kitchen, you know, small batches. I didn’t go out and buy $3,000 worth of bakery equipment to test out doing again, you know, for a lot of people who have a hard time experimenting, do you have any suggestions for how to maybe work that into a business plan? So it’s a little bit less 

[00:45:43] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and it was terrifying for me when I woke up. Uh, I mean, it was kind of like a, a light switch moment, you know, for me, where I had been running on this treadmill for so long with this goal, and then I woke up one day and said, I. You know, I don’t want to have a ton of employees, you know, I wanna have a, a, a big business, you know, I do wanna have some employees. I still wanna have this impact on clients’ lives and our overall community, but I wanna do it in a different way. So, what I did is I started kind of restructuring our services and the way that we presented our services and the way that we priced our services, all of this kind of stuff, to really be able to allow us to make the same amount of money, but to work with less clients and therefore have to employ less people in the process. That was terrifying though, and the thought of making those changes, you know, was very anxiety inducing until I put it on paper and then I said, you know, 

[00:46:46] Morgan: Hmm 

[00:46:47] Doug: It’s okay. I have this foundational base and I know that if I make a huge mistake, I can reverse it. You know, if, if you roll out a new policy and your clients don’t like it and they start jumping ship, you can retract the policy. You know, it’s not, it’s not life or death on this stuff. It’s okay. And sometimes we forget that We are human beings working with other human beings. You know, it, it’s easy to forget. That is, you know, and, and it’s important to remind ourselves that we all have fluctuations in life. We all go through changes. We all, all of our dreams and goals shift over time. And as long as we’re honest and transparent with ourselves first, and then the other people that we are involving in these decisions, our clients, our employees, et cetera, et cetera, as long as we’re honest and transparent and upfront and have some form of a plan, and don’t take ourselves too seriously either, you know, it’ll all be okay. It will be all. Okay. 

[00:47:53] Morgan: Yes. I think there’s like, there’s like a little meme I think of when you’re talking about this, which is like, I’m looking for 

an adult year adult and that I realize like that I am the, like I am the adult, but I need an adult year. Adult. I think we have this opinion or this kind of, this viewpoint that everybody else has everything figured out and we are the only ones who are experimenting or who are having to try something. And maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t. Um, and it’s hard sometimes to realize, like you said, everybody out there is a human and every other human . Doesn’t really know what they’re doing and they’re just trying to figure it out. And one of the reasons I wanted to have this podcast and to have these kind of authentic and candid conversations is because I want people to know that they are not alone.

Like, if you don’t know what your next policy decision needs to be, or you don’t know what your next strategy needs to be, or what you should be putting in your business plan like that’s okay. And it’s okay to start small and to test it and to decide, did I like this? Did I not like this? And everybody else is doing that.

Even these ginormous, you know, multi bajillion dollar companies, they’re also testing things out. Like nobody has everything figured out. We may have learned lessons along the way that we think can help each other, but none of us have everything figured out. 

[00:49:08] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. and I, I, I love testing things. I’m always ab testing everything from email subject lines to YouTube, video titles to policies within my pet sitting and dog walking business. I’m always ab testing everything. And, and I have a group of like 10 clients that have been with us for years. And anytime I’m gonna roll out any kind of a change, I roll it out to those ten first before I roll it out publicly, before I roll it out to our entire client base. I roll it out to those 10 clients first, and then I get their honest, real feedback. I, I’m also a huge fan of surveys. You know, uh, make a quick Google form, email out, email it out to your clients and get honest, legitimate feedback that you can track and use that data within your planning. You know, and if I roll some something out to these 10 clients and they all hate it, Okay. Well at least I didn’t roll it out to everybody. I can retract it real quick and we’re all good. We’re all good. The ball is still rolling. 

[00:50:11] Morgan: Mm-hmm. ,,and those are probably . I’m going to, you know, obviously they’ve been with you for that long. Like those are probably the people who gonna be the most forgiving. Where if it doesn’t work, or even if it, it doesn’t work, like you thought it was gonna work and they took it in a completely different, you know, light, you can say, oh, okay, well sorry guys, that’s not quite what I was planning on. Like, those are the people who are gonna be able to say, oh, that’s okay because we really love your services and, 

Um, and I, I think what I really like too about when you’ve been talking about business planning, um, I think . 

[00:50:44] Using your Business Plan as a Strategic Plan

[00:50:44] Morgan: A lot of times the business plan gets seen as something different from like a strategic plan. And what I love from what I’m hearing you say, maybe it’s my own interpretation, but you’re really kind of combining the two together and so you’re kind of incorporating your strategy within your business plan. And I think when people are thinking about like the values of their business, I’m a huge proponent of having a value that actually means something and not just like our values are being trustworthy and transparent. And it’s like, well that can, that can kind of apply to a a million different things. Whereas one of our values is being big hearted. ..We, we are, yeah, we, we love big, like we are not judgmental, we are helpful. We help, you know, continuing education, like these things are, are an actual item that you can, um, apply to different things.

So if I wanna say, okay, well if part of our values is to be, you know, community focused, I should probably be putting in my business plan. Like, what that actually mean? You know, am I doing community events? Are we, you know, offering Also, you know, there’s so many options of how you can apply being community minded to your business plan.

But if you don’t put that in, are you actually living out your values? Or is it just, you know, a mouthpiece, maybe you put on your website or you put on your wall. But I love the idea of using your, business plan as a, as a strategic plan to really lay out well, how are we gonna actually live out these values 

[00:52:10] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and that’s exactly how I view the business plan is it is an actionable Real plan. business plan isn’t just some Word doc that you work up and then you know you never open again. And it just is a mission statement and a vision statement and an outline of your services. That’s not really that helpful. You know, it has to be a document they’re actually going to use day-to-day and you’re gonna take it seriously. And like I said, you know, it’s, has to be actionable. You know, I view it as a actual Plan. It’s not just some template, you know? Um, 

I, I love that you, uh, talked about being community minded, uh, because that’s my, my mission statement for my pet sitting and dog walking business is to uplift and inspire our local community through our work with pets and their families. That’s our mission statement. So within our, uh, actual business plan, I work in all kinds of things that uphold that mission statement, such as we plan, uh, regular, uh, park cleanups in some of the, um, underfunded parks in our, in our area. We, uh, donate several thousand, uh, doggy poo bags to the city round dog parks every year as a way to give back, know, and then when we’re hiring, you know, I ask a lot of questions that really, uh, go straight to the core of How involved is this person in the community and do they value their local community? know, it, it, it all fits together. It all fits together, 

[00:53:53] Morgan: Yeah. I think especially if you, I think it’s important if you are a solo, You know, service provider. But I think it’s also important if you, or even maybe more important if you have a team of bringing those people along with you.

And I know a lot of people say, well, should I hire? And for me it’s very much like, well, do you have a mission and a purpose that you want somebody else to help you take forward? Because if not, what’s the point of hiring? You know? Is it just to get a, like a weekend off occasionally? Well, you could network and, you know, or just tell your clients no, occasionally I know it’s, you know, it’s not a sacrilege for a lot of us to tell our clients no. But, um, you know, there’s other ways to get more life balance that don’t necessarily include hiring. But I love this idea of putting all of that into a business plan. And then I’m assuming, do you kind of help share this with your employees in a way to help make sure that they are living out the values of your business? Also, like how have you tried to kind of put those two together? Because again, you’re all about hiring and how do you help your team kind of be .That 

[00:54:56] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s so many different little key questions and things that we ask and do throughout the entire application and interview process. That really, again, just gets to the core of, of who they are as a person and allows me to kind of see where their morals are.

You know, is I, I can train anybody to walk a dog. I can train anybody to clean a litter box. I cannot train them to have the right morals and values that align with my brand and our overall mission. And once they get through that application and interview process, I. Our very first meeting with them as a new employee. Before we get into any of the, uh, actual training, our first meeting is an hour long session where we sit down and I make them a part of our story. I explain to them how and why I started the business. I explained some of our business biggest successes and failures over the years, and I really do everything that I can throughout this meeting to tie everything back to our values and our mission and our vision. That way when they leave this meeting, before we start any of the actual training, they feel like they’re a part of the story. They understand what we stand for as a business, and that allows them also the opportunity to say like, Well, this is, this is gonna be great for me, or, Hmm. I don’t know about this. And I have had people where I’ve, I’ve hired them. I’m, I’m an openly gay man. My business is very, we put on everything that we’re, uh, L G B T Q plus, uh, friendly. We’re gay owned. I market my business at Pride Events every year, and that is part of our values as a business. You know, and I’ve, I’ve hired people over the years that for whatever reason, you know, they come in for this meeting and maybe that doesn’t jive with them. And it’s better to, it’s, you want people that believe in your mission and what you stand for, and you need to get everybody on the same page on day one. You know, ’cause it’s not gonna be good for them. It’s not gonna be good for you and it’s not gonna be good for your clients or your community if you have someone out there, uh, presenting your brand that doesn’t fully believe in it.

[00:57:13] Morgan: Mm-hmm. ..Absolutely. And like you said, it’s a, it’s kind of a waste of everybody’s time. Um, and you know, I think especially as a service provider, um, or what could be called a high touch service provider, you know, like what we do, what housekeepers do right? Like we are in their homes. We are, um, in, you know, kind of their most sacred sanctuary for their, for their selves. And there needs to be trust there. And I, people always ask me, um, well, gosh, don’t your clients meet every single person who’s gonna be taking care of their pets? And I said, in my business, they don’t. They meet me and I build up a trust and a rapport with our clients. And then I transfer that trust and that rapport into our employees and to our team. And if I can’t trust my employees and my employees can’t trust me, um, and we can’t have some kind of comfort level with each other, it’s really hard to then push that forward onto our clients, um, because they’re gonna feel like something’s not quite right.

And so I think, you know, it’s a, that’s a hangup. I think that a lot of people who are going from solo or who want to be hiring a team really struggle with in that question of, how do I get my clients on board with this? But, um, you know, really how do you build that trust and how can you help move that trust between you and your teammates?

And I think a lot of that comes down, again, do we have similar values? And I don’t think that we have to be, we’re not creating replicas of ourselves, right? Like, I’m not, uh, my, my team is not a whole bunch of Morgans who all do things the exact same way that I do and who believe the exact same things that I do.

But we can all get together on the big stuff and all of our values, like we agree on our values that we share and we can agree on, you know, um, all of these, like you said, these core principles of who we are as people and who we are as a business. Um, and yeah, if you don’t wanna get on that boat, like that’s cool. I’m sure there’s another boat that’s gonna fit that person better. And, you know, there’s nothing worse than an employee who is not that happy to be there, because that’s gonna show through on their work. Um, and they’re representing you every time they show up at a, at a. A client’s house and I know when I’m burnt out , I don’t do well. Um, you know, my work suffers. And I think by creating a business plan, we can probably help create a little bit less burnout 

[00:59:37] Doug: Absolutely. Absolutely. It helps it. The, the business plan just kind of helps keep all of this stuff in check. It helps kind of keep you organized, moving on the, the right path. And, um, just another quick note on, on hiring is, um, you know, I think a lot of people hire pet sitters and dog walkers because they’re scared to tell their clients no. Or they think that that’s the only way to grow their business. But I think that you’re really doing yourself a disservice as a business owner and as a pet professional to hire for those. Reasons you need to have an innate desire to lead. Not manage, but lead a team of people. You know, if you don’t actually want to be there and be the leader that they need and deserve every day on the good days, and especially on the bad days, then you should not be hiring. 

And I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t really think about. They don’t think about, you know, are we aligned on our values? Are we aligned on our morals and what’s going to happen when there is an issue? Am I going to be the leader that they need and that my business needs in that situation? And, and it’s not as easy as interviewing someone and then just putting some visits on their schedule and hoping for the best. It it’s, it’s not that easy, unfortunately.

[01:01:03] Morgan: unfortunately, it’s, it’s hard . Um, and I love how you say that because again, when we started this conversation, . 

[01:01:15] The Importance of Intentionality in Business Planning

[01:01:15] Morgan: You said the first thing you should do when you create a business plan is understand your mission, your vision, your values, your principles. Um, and if you can’t share those with other people, they can’t possibly be the ambassador of your brand and of your company if you don’t even know what your company stands for.

And, um, I had a, I had a c o o of, uh, the first business I worked for, the first firm I worked for at architecture school. And I did not, I was one of those employees who didn’t quite drink the Kool-Aid when I showed up the, the, the company had this kind of, this vision again, of, of who they were gonna be. And, and I didn’t really drive with that, which is probably why I only stayed there for like a year, year and a half. Um, but. It was at the beginning of when I worked there, we had an all team meeting and it’s like a hundred and some employees across three states. And so this big company and the c o o said something which has stuck with me to this day, which is hope is not a strategy.

And I, again, I’m kind of more of the theoretical person. Um, I have a harder time sometimes with all of kind of the details and writing everything out. Um, but that has stuck with me so much that even if you’re not creating this, you know, very detailed, fleshed out business plan, you still need a strategy. And you still need intention and you can’t just hope to be successful. Um, and I know we had a, a year where we were doing really great think business was going up. And then suddenly we had, you know, a bunch of our clients moved away. They had pets that passed away. And so suddenly our business started going back down again. And it was one of those moments of like, oh crap, , what am I gonna do here? Like, do I, I didn’t really have, we had never been in, we hadn’t been in that position for five years, maybe. And so it was this moment of like, well, do I just hope that more clients are gonna show up? You know, what is my strategy to actually make this happen?

And I was like, you know, if I had a business plan where I actually wrote some of these things out and I was tracking my metrics, I probably could have caught this problem a little bit sooner than I actually did. But, um, it was a great lesson to learn. But I think that, you know, again, if hope is not a strategy, and if we put our strategy into a business plan and we, we try to at least put something on paper, even if it’s very minimal, right?

Just starting small. Um, because it can be overwhelming. So if we can start small, we can at least get some. Um, kind of grasp on, on moving forward. I know you’re really passionate, Doug, about making sure that business owners, especially pet business owners can be successful. And, um, you wanna make sure that people start off on the right foot and that you have such a wealth of information on your YouTube videos and in your social media.

And I think that, you know, you’re really trying to help people understand the same thing. Hope is not a strategy, like we have to put some real intention into our plans, um, because success doesn’t just happen. None of us here. Maybe we had some success at the beginning where we got our first couple clients and then we could go part-time and then we can go full-time. But going beyond that especially really takes some intention and some, um, 

[01:04:27] Doug: Yeah, I love that. Hope is not a strategy. Everybody should have that on a sticky note on their wall. 

[01:04:35] Morgan: right? ,,I have a little, uh, little sticky note, a little post-it note on my computer that says, yeah, hope is not a strategy. And even when, again, I’m not . Always, um, as detailed with my analytics. I at least have an intention to my strategy. And I think maybe for people who are really struggling with creating that first official business plan or that first, you know, kind of planning document of some sort.

You’ve had some really great tips here today on how to 

just get 

[01:05:01] Doug: Well, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, and everybody, like, everybody that’s listening, don’t overthink it, you know? Uh, keep it simple, you know, keep it simple. Break out the crayons, you know, write it on a napkin. You don’t have to get super intensive. You don’t have to write a whole, manifesto in one sitting. You know, write your mission statement this week. Next week, define your ideal client avatar. The week after that, work on your values. You can piece it all together over time, but like you just said, Morgan, it’s all about being intentional. It’s all about being intentional and just keeping the ball moving. 

[01:05:38] The Value of White Space in Being Intentional

[01:05:38] Morgan: And I think, yeah, it, it can be so hard, especially as, you know, if you are in the weeds and you’re in the field full-time, maybe you’re listening to this while you’re walking a dog or you’re driving down the highway, it can be hard to take that time to be intentional and to take that time and set it aside when you have no other commitments or no other requirements and nobody is bugging you for anything.

Um, to just focus on these things. And, um, I talked recently about the importance of white space and creating kind of just this empty time in our calendar, and it’s important to allow your brain to just. Work. Um, and to not always be taking all these inputs in all the time to take that time aside and just have a moment where nobody needs anything from you and your brain can just kind of free dump things out.

Like, I know I always used to listen to podcasts in the shower, or I’d be losing to an audio book or something. And I finally realized that, gosh, if I just allow my brain to churn away, like things will come up that I haven’t allowed to come up before. Or if I take a couple minutes at the end of the day and I just sit there and even if it’s on my note, like a notes app on my phone, if I just suddenly I’ll have an idea and it’s like, oh, I gotta write this down, or I’m gonna forget, or like you said, you have pieces of paper that you just, you know, you’re putting into a folder and then you’re gonna get to at the end of the year.

However, that looks like if we just make sure we’re actually taking the time. ’cause we can’t be intentional if we don’t have the time to be intentional. We get, we can get so wrapped up in doing the work that we don’t get to do these 

[01:07:15] Doug: Oh yeah, then that’s so true. That’s so true. I love that you mentioned, uh, listening to podcasts in the shower and stuff, and that’s something I’m so guilty of. I always have like an audio book or a podcast or something kind of going in the background. I. But just recently, you know, like right now, I’m, I’m in the middle of making some big changes to my existing business.

I’m watching a new business, and there’s a lot of moving pieces and parts in my life. I just moved all kinds of different stuff going on, and I realized throughout, really just the last couple of months that by turning off the podcast, turning off the audio book and allowing myself that time to just think and to just sit and to have my thoughts, and like you said, to let my brain work. It helps cure my anxiety. It helps everything flow a little bit better. I have better thought processes, better ideas, all this kind of stuff. And it’s not, I, I think, uh, in today’s world, it’s easy to let yourself slip into this, like information overload. You know, it’s, we, we all have TikTok brain now, and like and, and is you, you’re gonna have TikTok brain forever if you don’t. You know, shut it down and give yourself that white space that, that you’re talking about. .

[01:08:33] Morgan: So I, and I will admit I am not always great at like regular white space for myself. Like I talk about the importance of it, but, um, sometimes I have to remind myself that, oh, yep, I haven’t taken that time this week. I But, um, so I gave this presentation at the Florida Pet Services Association, which Doug, you are a founding member, and the vice president of 

you hosted an amazing summit. 

[01:08:55] Doug: Thank you so much for coming. It was incredible.

[01:08:58] Morgan: Oh, I loved it. I loved every part about it. It was just a fantastic time. And I had . booked kind of unintentionally. I had booked a really late flight out the day after the conference because I had some plans change by the time I did that. I couldn’t fly out until seven o’clock at night. And so I was like, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do this whole day?

I was like, oh, I’m going to do white space time. So I brought out my notebook and I, I just sat by the pool ’cause I had a couple hours before I had to check out and I just started kind of writing. Just whatever thought came into my brain and suddenly, like I had this whole brain dump download of honestly, things I had been thinking about for the last

Three years just suddenly were perfectly formed and just kind of came out of my brain. I was writing them down ferociously. And then I got to the airport and I was like, oh, I have another idea. And I started like outlining, you know, all of these things. And it was kind of just this proof that we do need this white space.

And also, it’s okay to think about things for a while. You know, we said this earlier, you might think about something for a year or six months and it wasn’t quite ready yet, and it, it might come ready later. So also, don’t be afraid where if you sit there with your white space time and nothing comes to you, that’s also okay. Don’t give up on this as like a practice. Kind of 

[01:10:18] Doug: Yeah. Yeah. It’s way easier said than done. You 


[01:10:22] Morgan: Oh, 

[01:10:22] Doug: I, I, I, know, I know we can relate on this. ’cause it’s, it’s so hard to carve out the time when you have all these tasks on your weekly to-do list and, and there’s so many different things going on in your life. The thought of sitting down for 10, 15 minutes and just not doing anything is like, oh my God, why, why would I do that? I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for that. But sometimes that’s the, that is the best 10 minutes you could ever give yourself, you know? And I think, uh, something that, that I’ve gotten better about is giving myself at least 10 or 15 minutes between meetings. I used to roll, like from one meeting straight to the next, or one dog walk straight to the next, and literally just giving yourself like 10 or 15 minutes to just kind of sit back and, and process the meeting that you just had and think about it and maybe make some notes or maybe not make some notes. Just, just sit, you know, that can be, that can make a phenomenal impact on your entire life, your business, everything. 

[01:11:24] Morgan: Yeah. Mm. I think we should just leave it there, Doug, I think because that was such a brilliant little nugget 

[01:11:30] Doug: just thank you so much for having me, Morgan. I mean, I just, this has been incredible. I, I can’t tell you how excited I am that you’re finally rolling out this podcast. You mentioned the idea to me, like, what, over a year ago, and literally 

every time I see you or we, we talk, I’m like, when’s the podcast coming? When’s the podcast coming? I know you, you just have such a way of, of, uh, kind of orchestrating these ideas and presenting the right message to the overall industry. So I, I know you’re gonna make such an impact with this podcast, and we’re all rooting for you. So,

[01:12:06] Morgan: Well, thank you Doug. And uh, yeah, I appreciate that. And it is something, um, I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but I definitely, again, I wanted to be intentional, right? Like I wanted to make sure that . Um, I kind of had this fully fleshed idea of what this should be. And, and, you know, and we talked earlier too about iterations.

You know what? I thought this podcast was gonna be even six months ago. Um, I have a, I use Trello. I don’t know if you use Trello at all, but I love trello. And I found this, uh, card kind, it’s like a little post-it note, like on a board. And I found this one that I wrote, I don’t know, three or six months ago, and I was like, oh, wow, that’s completely different than what we’re doing today.

So again, it’s this idea of experimenting is okay, write something down. And even if it, it’s not that fully formed final idea, it’s okay because you will, you’re gonna, your brain is going to, um, evolve and you’re gonna get new information and things are gonna change. But it’s okay to start again. Start a business plan, start a strategy plan.

Just write something down. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be final. Write it down and you’ll come back to it later. And you might change it, you might not, but just be intentional. 

[01:13:13] Doug: exactly. exactly. 

[01:13:14] Morgan: Um, and I want people to know how to find you. 

[01:13:18] Stay In Touch with Doug

[01:13:18] Morgan: So why don’t you tell us you’re all over the social medias. Um, where can people learn more about Doug, the dog 

[01:13:23] Doug: you can find me on YouTube, youtube.com/doug, the dog guy. I post videos every week just sharing my experiences as a pet sitter and dog walker and pet business owner. Also on Instagram at, uh, Doug, the dog guy official. TikTok is Doug the dog guy. Uh, you can see more about my hiring course. relaunched with some upgrades and additions and everything. Um, and Morgan, thank you so much for being a guest industry leader in the course. You provide so much, uh, great information in your lesson, so thank you for that. That’s, uh, you can go to Doug the dog guy.co.co, uh, to see all about that and uh, Facebook too. Just look up Doug Keeling and I’m there 

[01:14:06] Morgan: Fantastic. And I will give a plug for your course, Doug, because like you said, I did a guest lesson, um, for the first version of this course that you did, and I thought it was a fantastic course the first time. and that you’re gonna make for version two. And I am just blown away by how much value and how much, and this is like, this is not a, a paid sponsorship, right? Like I’m not, you’re not making me say this , this was not scripted. Um, but truly there is so much value that you are putting into this course. It’s not just a, Hey, should you hire course, like it is an all encompassing, you have so much information and you have such a great community of people who are helping support your course. That it’s just people, even if you have a team, You should still take Doug’s hiring course because it is, there is so much in there. So there’s my For 

[01:15:01] Doug: Oh man. Thank you. Thank you, that means the world to me. 


[01:15:06] Morgan: And it’s, it’s all true. It’s all true. You have, there’s just so much in there. So, um, you’re doing great things Doug, and we so 

[01:15:11] Doug: thanks 

[01:15:12] Morgan: thanks Doug, and we’ll talk to you soon. 

[01:15:14] Doug: All right. Stay positive everybody.

[01:15:15] Morgan: Thank you so much for listening today. You can find show notes, transcripts, and more on our website, luckypuppod. com. Don’t forget, review, comment, like, share this conversation with your friends. Then don’t forget to reach out. You can find us on Instagram at luckypuppod or luckypuppodcast on Facebook, or send us an email, info at luckypuppod.

com. Until then, don’t forget to live a more full and happy life. We’ll talk to you soon.